I’d love to have David Backes in 2017.
I’d love to have Robby Fabbri in 2021.

You’ll have to forgive me for not dropping the glove, or tears, when the Blues offseason overhaul got an ice cold glass of small market poured over it Friday.

I’ve seen a few change their sweater color from Blue. You may have heard of some of them:  Hull, Pronger, Oates, Federko, Shanahan, Joseph, Gilmour, Mullen.

These guys are no Troy Brouwer.  <Wayne Gretzky nods>

I’ve seen it written that the Blues were two wins away from the Stanley Cup final.  I’ve not seen it written that the Blues were 10-9 in the playoffs.

Shouldn’t the Blues front office proceed as if both are true?

Man, I love David Backes.  Who doesn’t?  I’ve already mentioned to my wife that we need to go to that lone Bruins visit to Scottrade, as we thoroughly enjoyed the tribute to TJ Oshie at the Capitals game we accidented into.

But the reality of the hockey team/city we root for is that to employ a 36-year-old David Backes, and a 34-year-old Troy Brouwer, you’ll have to soon “trade” Jaden Schwartz, Colton Parayko, Jake Allen, and Robby Fabbri for them.

Backes will be 36 in that 5th year that he asked for and received.  He’s 32 now.

How many players over 32 finished among the NHL’s top 50 point-getters this year?


And they have age-repellant pedigrees:
Joe Thornton (4th), Jaromir Jagr Jr. (22), Daniel Sedin (37)

Brett Hull averaged 30 goals per season from ages 33-37.  He was awfully good.  But make no mistake, Father Time backchecked the heck out of Brett.  That magical three year stretch of 72, 86, and 70 goals? Ages 25, 26, 27.  Brett never scored 40 after age 32.

Note:  I just realized Brett Hull finished his career as a minus-16. 
<Mike Keenan nods>

I’m not comparing Backes to Hull in skill–just that they both skate against time.

Backes reminds me more of Brian Sutter.  Both did their business in a workmanlike fashion that further endeared them to a market not large enough to pay them on legacy.

Sutter did end his career as a Blue, but he was just 31-years-old. He never scored more than 19 after age 29–this after scoring 35 to 46 goals all but one season between ages 22 and 28.

It’s been said Backes would’ve had to leave $10MM on the table, settling for the Blues offer of 4y/$20mm versus Boston’s 5y/$30mm, but that’s not entirely true.  If Backes himself forsees production in that 5th year, he’d be free to be paid again by STL or a new team.  Say he earns an inflation affected $7MM in 2021…add that to the Blues’ $20MM over the first four years, and he’s traded in $3MM for a shirt with a ‘C’ and a continued quest for a parade down Market Street.

I don’t begrudge Backes one bit for that.  And I’m really in no place to speak of three million dollars as a negligible amount.

But it shows Doug Armstrong and David Backes had something in common Friday:

Both were hesitant to guarantee #42’s value in 2021.





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