Anaheim Ducks: David Backes’ Career and Impending Retirement

David Backes #21 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
David Backes #21 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The end of the hockey season brings more than just the conclusion of the team’s season. Oftentimes, you will see players hit key milestones, play their last games for a franchise, or contemplate retirement. The Anaheim Ducks recently honored Ryan Miller, who announced that this season will be his last. Another player seemingly under the radar that is expected to announce retirement at the end of this season, is David Backes.

Backes was a long-time St. Louis Blue, who spent ten seasons in the Blues organization, before signing a large five-year, $30 million dollar contract with the Boston Bruins on July 1, 2016. He spent three and a half seasons there, before being traded in a salary dump type deal to the Anaheim Ducks at the 2020 NHL trade deadline. He has played in 21 total games the last two seasons for Anaheim, with his last one coming where it all started 15 years ago in St Louis.

David Backes Career Overview

David Backes was drafted 62nd overall in the 2003 draft by the St. Louis Blues. He made his NHL debut three years later on December 16, 2006, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Backes notched his first career point in his first game assisting on Doug Weight‘s goal, then in his second game scored his first career goal against Kings goaltender, Dan Cloutier.

By his third NHL season, Backes established himself as an NHL regular, scoring a career-high 31 goals, helping the Blues qualify for the 2008-09 playoffs, their first playoff appearance since 2004. Over the course of the next several seasons, Backes took on a leadership role for the Blues, first becoming the alternate captain during the 2010-11 season, and then was named the Blues captain to start the 2011-12 season, following the departure of Eric Brewer.

In addition to being a leader, David was named to his first all-star game, and was rewarded with a five-year contract extension during the 10-11 season, which paid him $22.5 million and kept him in St. Louis through the 2015-16 season. The newly minted Blues’ captain rewarded them with his play, as Backes made two more all-star games, and finished top five for the Selke Award, which goes to the best defensive forward, four seasons in a row.

His best finish was during the 2011-12 season. He was a Selke finalist, and finished second to the eventual winner, Patrice Bergeron. In his last season as a Blue, he helped lead the team to their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 2001. His Blues career ended with 727 regular-season games played, and 460 points over the course of ten seasons.

As previously stated, he would go on to sign a five-year contract with the Boston Bruins. He played in 217 games as a Bruin, tallying 97 points before being dealt with the Anaheim Ducks along with Axel Andersson and a first-round pick for Ondrej Kase. His Boston tenure did not live up to the lofty expectations that come with signing a large free-agent contract.

His most notable act as a Bruin was facing off against his former team in the 2019 Stanley Cup. As a member of the Anaheim Ducks, he has played sparingly as he has bounced between the NHL roster and the taxi squad for the majority of the 2021 season. As of this writing, he has played in 965 games, tallying 561 points (248G, 313A), and 1,148 penalty minutes across his 15 year NHL career.

Backes Playoff Highlights

The first nine seasons of David Backes’ Blues tenure did not see them have much playoff success. They made it to the playoffs five times in those nine years, winning just one series in 2011-12, when they took the San Jose Sharks out in five, before eventually losing to the Stanley Cup champions, Los Angeles Kings. Backes played in 29 of those games, registering 13 points.

During his last season with the Blues, he led by example putting up 14 points in 20 games, leading St. Louis to the Conference Finals. In that run, Backes had three game-winning goals, including two in sudden death OT.

In Boston, David qualified for the playoffs in all three seasons he was there, playing in 33 games, and notching 12 points, including a game-winning goal against Toronto in 2018. He played in 15 of the Bruins’ 24 games during their 2019 run to the Stanley Cup Finals but was a healthy scratch the final three games of that series, which included the Game 7 defeat by his former team.

History with Team USA

David Backes competed for the United States national team on five separate occasions. He was named to the World Championship roster for three straight years, from 2008-10, where he registered nine points combined in those three tournaments.

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In addition, Backes was selected to represent the USA in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2010, he had a goal and two assists in six games, helping bring home the Silver Medal. In 2014, he added three more points over six games, despite the stars and stripes coming home empty and failing to medal.


If this is it for David Backes, he will leave the game being known as one of the better two-way forwards during his prime, and a great leader on and off the ice. As of this writing, he is one of only nine players in St. Louis Blues history to play in at least 600 games and reach 400 points.

His leadership and toughness will be remembered by all three NHL franchises he played for. While his play will likely not see him reach the hockey hall of fame, it can be expected that one day his number 42 will be hung in the rafters at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Congrats on an outstanding career, David Backes.

Next. Honoring Ryan Miller and His Incredible Career. dark

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