Oh my, how history gets clouded by recent past. With the St. Louis Blues taking those next steps to glory without their former captain, plus the fact he was on Boston when the Blues won, it is easy to say the Blues made the right choice in letting David Backes go.
However, while that is true, that takes nothing away from the fact the guy put his heart into this team. We can argue all day long about his leadership style since he always said the right things in the press but nothing really changed with the team, but one man can’t change an entire locker room all the time.
What we do know is Backes was a success on the ice and an even better human off it. His charitable works with foundations such as animal rescue will be long remembered in St. Louis even when his playing days are done. However, let’s not forget his playing days.
Backes played 10 years with the Blues. Some of the best of those years were in the 2010’s decade.
He matched his career high for goals with 31 in 2010-11. Before you turn your nose up at 31 goals, realize that Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn have never hit 30 goals. That same year he also set his career best with 62 points.
Backes never proved to be a spectacular playoff performer. However, it is no coincidence that his best playoff year was the season the Blues went to the conference final.
The captain had seven goals and 14 points in those 20 games. Three of those goals were game winners, he threw 93 hits in those playoffs and had 17 blocked shots and 11 takeaways. He was doing it all during that run. The team just ran out of gas.
Whether you want to give him credit or not, the fact remains Backes was captain of some of the most successful and consistent Blues teams in franchise history. Just while Backes was here, the Blues had four 100-plus point seasons and would have had a fifth if the 2012-13 season was not shortened by lockout.
Backes played more on grit than on pure talent. Whether you think that’s a positive or not is up to you, but his style fit his team more than anything.