New England Hockey Journal - August 2016 - 9
CLUBHOUSE ByBy TyTy Anderson
THE NUMBER: $616.2 m | NHL team combined spending in salary for nearly 130 players on first day of NHL free agency
baCKEs Calls bRuins PERFECt Fit
- Bruins assistant coach
Jay Pandolfo, on 2016
first-rounder Charlie McAvoy,
at Bruins development camp
Including David Backes, the Bruins
signed seven players in total on the first
day of NHL free agency. The club re-signed
defensemen Tommy Cross (Simsbury,
Conn.) and John-Michael Liles along
with enforcer Tyler Randell. Both Cross
and Randell were signed to one-year,
two-way contracts worth $600,000 at the
NHL level, while Liles, acquired from the
Carolina Hurricanes last trade deadline,
was signed to a one-year contract worth $2
million. Liles, 35, registered six assists in 17
games with the Bruins last season.
The Bruins then added to the organization with the return of goaltender Anton
Khudobin, who played in the organization from 2011 to 2013, on a two-year deal
worth $2.4 million in total. Khudobin split
the 2015-16 campaign between the Anaheim Ducks and the club's minor league
affiliate, the San Diego Gulls, and comes
back to Boston with 44 wins and a .918
save percentage in 100 NHL games.
Boston bolstered its depth with the
signing of Carolina bottom-six forward
Riley Nash, who comes to the B's after
five seasons with the Hurricanes. The
27-year-old Nash, drafted 21st overall in
2007, has registered at least 22 points in
each of the past three seasons, including a
career-high 25 in 2014-15.
Forward Tim Schaller (Merrimack,
N.H.) also was signed to a one-year,
two-way contract worth $600,000 at the
NHL level. Schaller split time between
the Buffalo Sabres and AHL's Rochester
Americans in 2015-16, and he has posted
two goals and five points in 35 total NHL
contests. The undrafted 25-year-old spent
his collegiate career with Providence from
2009-13, tallying 68 points in 131 games.
The additions didn't come without
some subtractions from the Bruins, though,
as the team lost a lot from its NHL group.
Winger Loui Eriksson left the Bruins for
a six-year, $36 million contract with the
Canucks, while forwards Brett Connolly
(Washington), Landon Ferraro (St.
Louis), Chris Kelly (Ottawa), defenseman
Zach Trotman (Los Angeles) and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (Edmonton)
all left the Bruins for affordable one-year,
"show-me" deals elsewhere. Forward Lee
Stempniak also was on the outs with
the Bruins by way of a two-year, $5 million
deal with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Bruins re-signed defenseman
Colin Miller and Joe Morrow. Miller,
23, acquired from the Kings in the Milan
Lucic trade in June 2015, was signed to a
two-year deal worth $2 million. In a year
split between Boston and Providence, the
6-foot-1 Miller put up three goals and 16
points in 42 games for the Big B's. It's a
one-year, $800,000 contract for Morrow,
who had one goal and six assists in 33
games for Boston last season.
he Boston Bruins began free
agency on the hunt for a highend right winger. After two
straight collapses out of the
postseason picture in the final week of the
regular season, they identified puck possession, versatility and leadership as undeniable needs for their group, too. General
manager Don Sweeney believes the team
found all those qualities in David Backes,
a player the club targeted and signed to a
five-year, $30 million contract on the first
day of free agency on July 1.
"Well, it's the package," Sweeney said
of the club's attraction to Backes when he
hit the open market. "He's hungry to have
another opportunity to win. He's done his
due diligence with a number of players that
we have on the horizon. He knows this was
a full commitment from the ownership, you
know, with Cam (Neely), Claude (Julien)
involved, players involved. We just went
about our business to identify David as a
player that our other players want to play
with and set examples. And I don't think
you can have enough of those, and strength
up the middle of the ice is paramount."
Backes, 32, comes to Boston after 10
years in St. Louis, including five as the captain of the Blues, and an impressive 206
goals and 460 points in 727 NHL contests.
Backes' last run to bring the Stanley Cup
to St. Louis included a seven-goal, 14-point
playoff line in a 20-game, three-round run
in the club's first trip to the Western Conference finals since the 2000-01 season.
"It's a blue-collar, hard-nosed, don'ttake-crap-from-anybody type of team, and
that's the way that I feel I've built my game
THE LIST: FREE AGENTS
Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal (McAvoy); Getty Images
Forward David Backes' five-year, $30 million
contract was the second-richest contract inked by
a player joining the Bruins as an unrestricted free
agent in the club's near century-long history.
YEAR TOTAL $ YRS
Former St. Louis Blues center David Backes
joins Ryan Spooner and the Bruins this season
in black and gold. Backes has 206 career goals.
in 10 years in the league," Backes said of
his fit with the Bruins. "It just seemed like
an awesome fit hockey-wise, and the more
I learn about the New England area and
what Boston has to offer for a city from a
family standpoint, the family life seemed
to be a match made in heaven as well."
Expected to play either center on Boston's third line or on the wing with Patrice
Bergeron or David Krejci, the two-time
U.S. Olympian knows what he needs to
bring to the table with each shift in a B's
uniform regardless of where he skates in
the lineup on a night-to-night basis.
"We need a cohesive leadership group
that's made up of prominent players that have
a loud voice and walk the walk and not just
talk the talk," said Backes. "If you have that -
a good four to five guys with those qualities -
the rest of the team has no option but to jump
on board and fall in line. I think it's something
where leadership in my past has been you've
got to be the first guy willing to put team success ahead of individual success."
But if the Bruins are to have team success, it's Backes' individual success that
will have to play a significant part - something the 6-foot-3 forward from Minnesota
is already ready for.
"It's Boston Bruins hockey and I'm excited about being up to it," Backes said.
"Let's get started."
'He's the type
that you hope
can play 25,
a night. That's
what he looks
in college this
year. He has
handling a lot
of ice time.'
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of New England Hockey Journal - August 2016
NEHJ August 2016
Our Starting Lineup
Around the Region
Bruins Beat: Ryan Donato
NHL New England
NHL New England Digital Directory
BONUS: Comm Ave Charity Classic gallery
NEHJ Skate Guide: Brand Loyalty
NEHJ Skate Guide: Sharpening 101
NEHJ Skate Guide: Buyer's Guide
Prep/High School Guide
NEHJ TV EPISODES
The Goalie Guru
The Hockey Mom
Summer Camp Directory
Hangin' Out With …
New England Hockey Journal - August 2016
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