The discussion of whether the Boston Bruins could get out from under the contract of veteran center David Backes has been ongoing for some time. It’s been determined that Backes, who has seen his numbers drop significantly in the last year while the team still owes him two more years at $6MM AAV, would be almost impossible to move, especially after the Toronto Maple Leafs unloaded Patrick Marleau and his one-year at $6.25MM to Carolina and was forced to include a first-round pick.
However, NBC Sports Boston Joe Haggerty re-analyzes the situation after the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers completed a swap of what many thought to be untradeable contracts. The problem once again for Boston is that trading Backes for another bad contract doesn’t help the Bruins as Backes only has two years left on his deal, while most of the other bad contracts have quite a bit more time remaining. Vancouver’s Loui Eriksson has the exact same contract and might even provide a slight more offense than Backes can, but any kind of one-on-one deal would require Boston to take an extra year of his contract as Eriksson still has three years remaining at that salary, hardly solving the team’s problem.
Unless the can find an unusual fit, it seems like Boston will be stuck with Backes for at least one more year.
- Despite making moves this summer to turn their team in a bonafide playoff team by bringing in head coach Joel Quenneville as well as signing star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, the Florida Panthers aren’t expected to be looking to sign a veteran goaltender to back the goalie up. The Athletic’s George Richards (subscription required) writes that Florida believes that 22-year-old Sam Montembeault is ready to be the backup and the job is his to lose. The youngster made 11 appearances late in the season last year and while his numbers weren’t overwhelming (3.04 GAA, .894 save percentage), he had moments where he looked like he was ready. The scribe reports, however, he will receive a battle from Chris Driedger, who looked sharp in 32 appearances with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL.Because of Driedger, who the team re-upped earlier this summer, it’s unlikely the team brings in a veteran in case Montembeault isn’t ready for a NHL job yet.
- Mari Faiello of the Tampa Bay Times writes that one of the main reasons the Tampa Bay Lightning went out and signed prized backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6MM deal on July 1 was because they were concerned about the fact that current backup Louis Domingue was going to be an unrestricted free agent next summer and would likely expect a raise. Domingue, who has been solid at $1.15MM, might cost too much to re-sign, but a chance to get the veteran McElhinney at $1.3MM AAV was too much to pass up. The team will likely wait to move Domingue until training camp when teams start realizing they need goaltending help.
- The Athletic’s Sean Gordon (subscription required) writes that with the signing of forward Charles Hudon Friday, the team opened up a two-day buyout window that starts on Monday and the team could opt to buy out defenseman Karl Alzner if they wanted to. Alzner, who has three years remaining at $4.63MM AAV, isn’t a certain candidate, however, as the Canadiens could have bought him out during the first buyout period and didn’t. However, the team could free up a little more money to sign another free agent such as Jake Gardiner, who still is without a contract this summer.