Like Jackman, David Backes had a very solid career, especially with the St. Louis Blues. Like Jackman, he would have had a great career if he could have played in a previous decade.
Backes’ main style of game was to get to the front of the net and play with an edge in the corners. Like Jackman, playing in the era he did, Backes ended up taking some penalties that likely would not have been called had he played in a different time.
Put Backes in the early 1990’s and he would have been a beast. Someone with his size would have been almost unmovable in front of the net. He might have gotten chopped a little more by opposing goalies, but he might have scored more as well.
Conventional wisdom says he was fine in his era. Defenders were not able to move him out from the front of the crease like they could in the old days.
However, Backes’ style still fit a bygone era a little more. You might even place him back in the 1970’s.
Backes was not much of a fighter, but when you got his emotions going, he would battle with anyone.
During much of Backes’ career with the Blues, racking up 160-plus penalty minutes was not really seen as a good thing. If you’re sticking up for your teammate, so be it, but some of his penalties were stick infractions or holding because the footwork was not quite there.
Playing in a further back decade, he would have actually been one of the faster guys. Combine that with a bit of nastiness and he could dominate.
We might have seen him have more of his 30-goal seasons because he would have bulldozed opposing forwards. Only the defenders would have stood between him and the goal.
Just going to the 1990’s or early 2000’s would have fit Backes’ style a bit more. He might not have had the same overall talent, but he was very much in the mold of Keith Tkachuk who thrived during those times.