Saturday: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that both Backes and Schenn cleared waivers. NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin adds that Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said that Backes will be given the same break that all NHL players are getting for the all-star break before the team decides whether it will send him to the AHL.
Friday: The Boston Bruins have decided to place veteran forward David Backes on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to the minor leagues. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet adds that Luke Schenn has also been placed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Backes, 35, has finally worn out his welcome with the Bruins. The former St. Louis Blues captain signed a six-year, $36MM contract with Boston in 2016 but was almost immediately a disappointment. He failed reach the 20-goal mark in his first season with the Bruins, a threshold he had met in each of his previous five full seasons (not counting the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign). Still, at that point he was still at least adding some secondary scoring and providing a physical presence in the lineup on a nightly basis.
Injuries started really affecting that contribution however, which made many look at the deal as a potential problem. By the time the summer of 2019 rolled around Backes was a buyout candidate, and now he finds himself on the way to the minor leagues.
Backes’ $6MM cap hit will not be entirely buried by heading to the AHL. Only $1.075MM is covered by sending him down, and the Bruins will still be on the hook for the entire actual salary. This transaction couldn’t have been done last year when Backes still had a no-movement clause, but this very well could be the end of his time in the NHL.
For Schenn, this the second time he’s found himself on waivers since signing a one-year deal with Tampa Bay. He cleared just before the season began, but now that teams are dealing with injuries there is a chance he gets grabbed for a short-term fix. The 30-year old has 749 games of NHL experience under his belt, though is obviously not an extremely effective option at this point in his career.