The St. Louis Blues locked up one of their own Thursday by signing 26-year-old power forward David Backes to a five-year contract extension. The deal reportedly will pay him $22.5 million over the life of the contract. He could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Backes continues in line with teammates David Perron and Erik Johnson, both of whom signed contract extensions this summer. Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie likely are the next targets for Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong as he looks to keep the young core of this team intact for years to come.
"This will continue us on the path we started, building from within with home-grown talent," Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "David was a priority player for this organization, and more importantly, when I had a chance to broach the subject (of a contract extension) with him, his desire to stay here cemented the deal. The player is in control and he wanted to stay here."
Backes, who has 2 goals, 4 assists and 32 penalty minutes in 14 games this season, his fifth in the NHL, told the newspaper that the connection he's made with the city of St. Louis, the fans and the Blues made his decision a simple one.
"There's maybe that thought in your mind to chase the almighty penny all over the place, but there's so many things outside of money that are more important ... to myself and my wife," Backes said. "Maybe I don't know any better, but I know this group is trending in the right direction. We've got a lot of great young talent, and I want to be part of it."
Backes had a career-high 31 assists and 266 hits in 79 games last season after scoring a career-high 31 goals and 54 points in 2008-09. Backes won a silver medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
He has 162 points (73 goals, 89 assists) and 439 penalty minutes in 296 career games.
"Obviously we had a commitment to stay here and the Blues are making a big commitment to keep me here," Backes said. "I think it's a great day for both sides."
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