Bruins Ship Backes to Ducks for Kase
The Boston Bruins traded winger David Backes, prospect defenseman Axel Andersson, and a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to the Anaheim Ducks for winger Ondrej Kase.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With this move, the Bruins shed the contract of a fading veteran winger for a younger, more affordable option, albeit one with an injury history of his own. Backes is signed through 2020-21. The Bruins also retained 25 percent of his $6-million annual average value.
At first glance, this seems to be an overpayment on the Bruins’ part. Kase, 24, is a talented right winger, having scored 20 goals in 2017-18. However, he’s been hampered by frequent injuries during his four-year NHL career, at times sidelining him for lengthy periods.
However, it was necessary to shed the bulk of Backes’ salary. The 35-year-old winger’s performance has steadily eroded over the past four years as age and the wear-and-tear of his physical style caught up with him. His contract had become burdensome for the Bruins.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was in the market for a top-six winger for David Krejci’s line. He was reportedly interested in New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider or New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri. Those clubs, however, probably weren’t keen to take on Backes as part of the deal. Kase could fill that second-line winger role, though some think Sweeney might not be done dealing.
Ducks general manager Bob Murray was willing to use his salary-cap space to take an expensive veteran off the hands of a contender, provided they also included one or two other assets in return. While it remains to be seen if Backes has a role with the Ducks over the remainder of his contract, acquiring a first-round pick and a quality defensive prospect provides invaluable pieces to put toward rebuilding their roster.