The horror-filled season of David Backes continues, as today the Boston Bruins announced that he would need colon surgery to help prevent a recurrence of diverticulitis. Backes will have the surgery—which will remove a portion of his colon—tomorrow, and will be out approximately eight weeks. In addition, Bruins have recalled Jordan Szwarz and Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis, because both David Krejci and Anton Khudobin are absent from practice.
Backes was held out until October 19th with his second bout of diverticulitis, but eventually got back into the lineup and has played the last five games for Boston. Recording just one point, he nevertheless saw plenty of ice time and was clearly an important part of the team’s forward group. To miss the next two months will test the Bruins depth, as they’ve already fallen to 4-3-3 on the season..
Signed to a five-year, $30MM contract in the summer of 2016, Backes hasn’t exactly worked out as the team had planned. Though he was a center for most of his time in St. Louis, Boston has used him almost exclusively on the wing through his time there and saw him register just 38 points in 74 games last season. While you can’t dismiss that total entirely, Backes had played at a 55-point season pace over the last eight years and scored at least 20 goals in each of the last five non-lockout shortened seasons. At 33, now facing another long rehab period one can only wonder how much time he has left as an effective option—or at least one worth his $6MM cap hit.