Center David Backes signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Boston Bruins on Friday. The contract has an average annual value of $6 million.
Backes, the former captain of the St. Louis Blues, had 21 goals and 45 points in 79 games last season. The 21 goals were his fewest in a full season since he scored 17 in 2009-10; his 45 points were the fewest he had in an 82-game season since 31 in 2007-08. He finished with seven goals and 14 points in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games; he had never scored more than two goals or had more than four points in any previous playoff year. Backes was the only player to score two overtime goals in the 2016 playoffs.
Backes has spent his entire 10-year career with St. Louis and was captain since 2011-12. In 727 games, he has 206 goals and 254 assists. He's been a solid contributor on the ice, a leader in the dressing room and a pillar of the community away from the rink. He's aided local charities and created his own to help find shelters and homes for animals. There's no questioning his character credentials.
But Backes is what he is: A 32-year-old with good size and declining but still-useful offensive ability who plays a physical game (239 hits, 13th in the NHL, in 2015-16). He plays an excellent two-way game, and has a nose for the net with grit and determination.
Backes may be past his prime but is capable of contributing at both ends of the ice, though possibly as a third-line center rather than on a second line.