David Backes

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David Backes
David Backes 1 2014-03-23.JPG
Backes with the St. Louis Blues in 2014.
Born (1984-05-01) May 1, 1984 (age 29)
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 221 lb (100 kg; 15 st 11 lb)
Position Center / Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team St. Louis Blues
National team  United States
NHL Draft 62nd overall, 2003
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 2005–present

David Anthony Backes (born May 1, 1984) is an American professional ice hockey center and right winger and captain of the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League (NHL).

After two seasons of junior with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League, Backes was selected 62nd overall by the Blues in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Following his draft, he joined the Minnesota State Mavericks men's ice hockey of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, spending three seasons in the college hockey ranks. Foregoing his senior year with the Mavericks, he turned professional with the Blues, joining their American Hockey League affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. Midway through the 2006–07 season, Backes was called up to the NHL and secured a roster spot with the Blues. Following his fifth season with St. Louis, he was chosen as team captain.

Internationally, Backes represents the United States. He is a two-time Olympian, winning silver at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, and has played in three IIHF World Championships.

Playing career[edit]

High school[edit]

Backes played three seasons of prep hockey with Spring Lake Park High School in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, graduating in 2002. As a senior, he was named All-Conference, All-Metro, All-State and was a finalist for the 2002 Minnesota Mr. Hockey award. He was joined on the Star Tribune's All-Metro First Team with future college teammate, Travis Morin of the Dallas Stars. His high school team included future Minnesota Wild forward, Jarod Palmer. His number 5 has been retired by the school and hangs at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minnesota.[1]

Junior and college[edit]

After spending parts of two years in junior hockey with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, Backes was selected in the second round, 62nd overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to joining the Blues, he played three seasons of college hockey at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he was named to the 2005-06 Men’s RBK Division I West All-America Second Team and the 2005-06 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team.[2] Immediately after his third and final college season, he was signed by the Blues and assigned to the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL for the final 12 games of the 2005–06 AHL season.

Professional[edit]

Following his first NHL training camp in September 2006, Backes was re-assigned to the Rivermen, remaining in the AHL for the start of the 2006–07 season. Several months into the campaign, he was called up by the Blues and played his first NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 19, 2006. Forty-four seconds into the game, Backes registered his first NHL point, a second-assist on a Doug Weight goal, giving the Blues a 1–0 lead. St. Louis went on to win the game 4–1, while Backes recorded 10 minutes of ice time.[3] The following game two days later, Backes scored his first NHL goal 10 minutes and 47 seconds into the first period versus the Los Angeles Kings. The goal came on a backhand shot past Kings goaltender Dan Cloutier, helping the Blues to a 5–2 win.[4] A month into his initial stint with the Blues, he was re-assigned to the Rivermen on January 21, 2007, for three days, after which he was recalled. Spending the remainder of the season with St. Louis, he completed his rookie season with 23 points (10 goals and 13 assists) in 49 games, while also recording 13 points (10 goals and 3 assists) in 31 games with Peoria. Among NHL rookies who had played at least half the season, Backes ranked 13th in points-per-game at .47.[5]

Backes with the Blues in 2011.

In 2007–08, he completed his first full season in the NHL, improving to 31 points (13 goals and 18 assists). Becoming a restricted free agent in the off-season, Backes signed a three-year, US$7.5 million offer sheet with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1, 2008. The Blues quickly matched the offer, keeping Backes in St. Louis through the 2010–11 season.[6] With a new contract, Backes tallied 54 points, including a career-high 31 goals, in 2008-09, finishing second behind winger Brad Boyes among Blues scorers.[7] He added 165 penalty minutes while playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career. During the season, he scored a career-high four goals on April 2, 2009, in a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings.[8] Backes' efforts helped the Blues reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Matching up against the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, the Blues were swept in four games. Backes recorded a goal and two assists in that span.

In 2009-10, Backes' offensive production decreased to 17 goals and 31 assists for 48 points in 79 games. Following the retirement of Keith Tkachuk in the off-season, Backes took on the role of the alternate captain for 2010–11, the last season of his contract. A month into the campaign, on November 12, 2010, Backes signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract extension, keeping him with St. Louis through the 2015-16 season.[9] Leading the Blues in scoring midway through the season, he was named to his first NHL All-Star Game in 2011.[10] As the NHL adopted a draft to determine the teams for the first year, Backes was selected by Team Staal 33rd overall among 36 players. He recorded three assists in a losing effort, as Team Lidstrom won 11–10. Backes completed the season matching his personal best total of 31 goals, while adding 31 assists for a career-high and team-leading 62 points over 82 games. With a +32 rating, Backes came within one point of leading the league in plus-minus, behind Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.

Late in the 2010–11 season, Blues captain Eric Brewer had been traded away to the Tampa Bay Lightning, leaving the leadership position vacant for the remainder of the campaign. During the off-season, on September 9, 2011, Backes was chosen to succeed Brewer, becoming the 20th captain in team history.[11] He scored 24 goals to go with 30 assists in 82 games played during the 2011–12 NHL season.

International play[edit]

DavidBackes2010WinterOlympics.jpg
David Backes during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Silver 2010 Vancouver

Following his rookie NHL season, Backes was named to the United States' national team for the 2007 IIHF World Championship. He played in 7 games, contributing a goal, 2 assists and 6 penalty minutes, as the U.S. finished in 5th place. He again suited up for Team USA at the 2008 IIHF World Championship, contributing an assist and 35 penalty minutes over 6 games as the U.S. finished 6th. Competing for a third consecutive year at the World Championships in 2009, Backes registering a goal and 4 assists in 9 games. The U.S. placed 4th, losing to Sweden 4-2 in the bronze medal game.

On January 1, 2010, Backes was named to the United States' roster for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He recorded a goal and two assists over six games, helping the United States to the gold medal game. They were defeated 3-2 by Canada in overtime, earning silver.

On January 1, 2014, Backes was named to the United States's roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics along with St. Louis teammates Kevin Shattenkirk and T. J. Oshie.[12] Although the U.S. team did no win a medal, Backes played very well. The forward played in six games, scored three goals, had one assist, and four points - while accumulating six penalty - minutes in Sochi.

Off the ice[edit]

Backes got his private pilot license in 2012. He has flown many planes. He is currently pursuing an applied organizational studies degree with an nonprofit leadership emphasis from Minnesota State and was formerly studying to become an electrical engineer.[13]

He is a passionate advocate for animal welfare. Together with his wife, Kelly, he is highly active in animal rescue efforts and pet adoption drives.[14] In November 2013 they founded Athletes for Animals, "a united team of professional athletes with a shared passion for rescuing and protecting the welfare of homeless pets nationwide."

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1999–00 Spring Lake Park MN-HS 24 17 20 37
2000–01 Spring Lake Park MN-HS 24 29 46 75
2001–02 Spring Lake Park MN-HS 25 31 36 67 2 1 1 2
2001–02 Lincoln Stars USHL 30 11 10 21 54 3 0 0 0 2
2002–03 Lincoln Stars USHL 57 28 41 69 126 7 4 1 5 17
2003–04 Minnesota State WCHA 39 16 21 37 66
2004–05 Minnesota State WCHA 38 17 23 40 55
2005–06 Minnesota State WCHA 38 13 29 42 91
2005–06 Peoria Rivermen AHL 12 5 5 10 10 3 1 1 2 8
2006–07 Peoria Rivermen AHL 31 10 3 13 47
2006–07 St. Louis Blues NHL 49 10 13 23 37
2007–08 St. Louis Blues NHL 72 13 18 31 99
2008–09 St. Louis Blues NHL 82 31 23 54 165 4 1 2 3 10
2009–10 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 17 31 48 106
2010–11 St. Louis Blues NHL 82 31 31 62 93
2011–12 St. Louis Blues NHL 82 24 30 54 101 9 2 2 4 18
2012–13 St. Louis Blues NHL 48 6 22 28 62 6 1 2 3 0
2013–14 St. Louis Blues NHL 74 27 30 57 119 - - - - -
NHL totals (incl. regular season ending on Apr. 13, 2014) 568 159 198 357 782 19 4 6 10 28

International[edit]

Year Team Comp GP G A Pts PIM
2007 United States WC 7 1 2 3 6
2008 United States WC 6 0 1 1 35
2009 United States WC 9 1 4 5 33
2010 United States Oly 6 1 2 3 2
2014 United States Oly 6 3 1 4 6
International totals 34 6 10 16 82

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA Rookie Team 2003–04
All-WCHA Third Team 2004–05
All-WCHA Second Team 2005–06

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Eric Brewer
St. Louis Blues captain
2011–present
Incumbent