The St. Louis Blues made a harsh decision a few years ago regarding their then captain. That decision has paid off given how things turned out.
I know, I know. It is blasphemous to compare anything in St. Louis to the New England Patriots. Nevertheless, the St. Louis Blues and six-time Super Bowl champions have done things in a similar manner and it seems to have been beneficial for both.
The most recent example of the Blues cutting ties, outside of a trade, is letting former captain David Backes go. At the time, it was a controversial decision.
Many people thought the Blues should have paid their captain for time served. The Blues were just coming off a trip to the Western Conference Final after all.
The Blues, wisely, made the decision not to pay Backes what he wanted. Though he said all the right things, Backes took the money – a $6 million a year cap hit – which, in hindsight was the smart decision for his family. As fans, we all want the people we cheer for and support to be loyal. Loyalty won’t set your family up for years to come, so a raise from Boston made more sense for Backes and a paycut would have made more sense for the Blues.
The Blues, like the Patriots, made the tough decision to let a fan favorite go. Instead of flashing the cash to appease the masses, they made a businesslike choice and it helped the team.
However, the unfortunate side of the Blues making the right decision is that Backes might now be out of work. With a year and a half still left on his Boston deal, the Bruins waived Backes.
Unfortunately, you could see it coming. Bruins fans were somewhat surprised something like this did not happen last year.
Instead, Boston held on to the veteran forward. It did not really pay dividends as he had a career low of seven goals and 20 points.
That was lower than his rookie season when he played in 21 fewer games. Backes only played in 16 out of 48 games to this point in 2019-20 and had one goal and three points.
He was scratched during the the Stanley Cup Final against his former team as well. That had to be salt in the wound.
For Blues fans, this puts us in an odd position. It validates the team’s decision to let him go.
The point production was already dipping when he was still with the Blues. Unfortunately for him, it continued a downward trend with the Bruins.
So, that means a guy that gave his heart to the game is out of it, for now anyway. Given the price tag he will carry, Backes won’t be claimed by anyone. So, if he is not ready to play some games in the AHL, Backes might be forced to hang the skates up.
That is not for us to decide. Only he and his family can make that decision.
From a team standpoint, it shows they made the right choice. Doug Armstrong, despite fan backlash at times, has made plenty of those.
From the personal standpoint, it is not a good situation. Whether we agreed with the Blues letting him walk or not, most fans still have a soft spot for Backes and wish him the best.