David Backes

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David Backes
David Backes Boston Bruins 2017.jpg
Backes with the Boston Bruins in 2017
Born (1984-05-01) May 1, 1984 (age 34)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Center
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Boston Bruins
St. Louis Blues
National team  United States
NHL Draft 62nd overall, 2003
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 2005–present
Website www.davidbackes.com

David Anthony Backes (born May 1, 1984) is an American professional ice hockey center and right winger for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Backes was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but grew up in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota.

After two seasons of junior ice hockey 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 team of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, spending three seasons in the college hockey ranks. Forgoing his senior year with the Mavericks, he turned professional with the Blues, joining their American Hockey League (AHL) 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 season.


St. Louis Blues[edit]

Backes with the St. Louis Blues in 2014.

Following his first NHL training camp in September 2006, Backes was reassigned 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 reassigned 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 three 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]

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 former Bruins 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 Chára.

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.

Boston Bruins[edit]

After ten seasons with the Blues organization and leading the club as captain for the last five seasons, Backes left as a free agent after the 2015–16 season. Backes agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal with the Boston Bruins on July 1, 2016.[12]

On November 22, 2016, the Bruins as a team reached the milestone of 20,000 goals all-time in NHL play, dating back to their 1924–25 debut season when left winger Smokey Harris scored the Bruins' first-ever goal on December 1, 1924,[13] Backes' power play goal for the Bruins got them to the 20,000th-team goal total plateau in a 4–2 home rink loss to his previous team, the St. Louis Blues. The 20,000th goal plateau has only been attained by one other NHL team—the Bruins' top rival—the Montreal Canadiens.[14] He is an alternate along with Patrice Bergeron for home games at the TD Garden.

At the beginning of the 2017–18 season, Backes had been diagnosed with a diverticulitis infection, and missed the first five games of the regular season, but was able to play again by October 19, the night of a home game against the Vancouver Canucks. However, a re-evaluation shortly thereafter, with Backes' most recent game on October 30, on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets, revealed that an operation to remove part of his colon would be necessary, which was carried out on November 2, with a predicted eight week recovery time.[15] Backes was suspended for three games on March 7, 2018, due to interference against Detroit Red Wings player Frans Nielsen, during a game on March 6, 2018.[16] Following an accidental hockey-skate cut above one knee suffered in a March 17, 2018 Bruins road game by the Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde,[17] Backes required 17 stitches to close the wound, and needed to stay off the ice for it to heal - Backes returned against the Lightning in a home game for the Bruins on March 29.[18] Ahead of his return on March 29, Backes was selected as the Bruins' nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey."[19]

On December 27, 2018, Backes delivered an illegal hit to the head of New Jersey Devils' forward Blake Coleman. He was assessed a minor penalty on the play. The following day, Backes was suspended for three games. As a repeat offender, Backes forfeited $219,512.19.[20]

International play[edit]

Backes during the 2010 Winter Olympics
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 2010 Vancouver

Following his rookie NHL season, Backes was named to the United States' national team for the 2007 IIHF World Championship.[21] He played in seven games, contributing a goal, two assists and six penalty minutes, as the U.S. finished in fifth place. He again suited up for Team USA at the 2008 IIHF World Championship,[21] contributing an assist and 35 penalty minutes over six games as the U.S. finished sixth. Competing for a third consecutive year at the World Championships in 2009,[21] Backes registering a goal and four assists in nine games. The U.S. placed fourth, losing to Sweden 4–2 in the bronze medal game.[22]

On January 1, 2010, Backes was named to the United States' roster for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25] Although the U.S. team did not win a medal, 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 and has flown many planes since. He graduated with an applied organizational studies degree with a nonprofit leadership emphasis from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2014, and was formerly studying to become an electrical engineer.[26]

Backes is a passionate advocate for animal welfare, and has had pets since he was a child and when he was struggling to get a break in the NHL. Together with his wife, Kelly, he is highly active in animal rescue efforts and pet adoption drives.[27] In November 2013, they founded Athletes for Animals, an organization to raise funds and awareness for rescuing and protecting the welfare of homeless pets.[28]

On April 4, 2017 six cattle that escaped slaughter in north St. Louis were put under the care of The Gentle Barn, an animal sanctuary with facilities in California and Tennessee with David providing the funding through GoFundMe for their freedom.[29]

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 USHS 24 17 20 37
2000–01 Spring Lake Park USHS 24 29 46 75
2001–02 Spring Lake Park USHS 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 4 0 1 1 2
2014–15 St. Louis Blues NHL 80 26 32 58 104 6 1 1 2 2
2015–16 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 21 24 45 83 20 7 7 14 8
2016–17 Boston Bruins NHL 74 17 21 38 69 6 1 3 4 2
2017–18 Boston Bruins NHL 57 14 19 33 53 12 2 1 3 19
NHL totals 858 237 294 531 1091 67 15 19 34 61


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2007 United States WC 5th 7 1 2 3 6
2008 United States WC 6th 6 0 1 1 35
2009 United States WC 4th 9 1 4 5 33
2010 United States OG 2nd, silver medalist(s) 6 1 2 3 2
2014 United States OG 4th 6 3 1 4 6
2016 United States WCH 7th 2 0 0 0 0
Senior totals 36 6 10 16 82

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
Finalist, Minnesota Mr. Hockey 2001–02
All-USHL First Team 2002–03
All-WCHA Rookie Team 2003–04
All-WCHA Third Team 2004–05
WCHA All-Academic Team 2004–05, 2005–06
All-WCHA Second Team 2005–06
AHCA West Second-Team All-American 2005–06
ESPN Academic All-America First Team 2005–06
All-Star Game 2011
Frank J. Selke Trophy Finalist 2011–12


  1. ^ "NHLs David Backes to have his number retired". November 27, 2007. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  2. ^ "David Backes named hockey academic all-american". June 14, 2006. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  3. ^ "Blues 4 – Penguins 1". St. Louis Blues. December 19, 2006. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "Blues 5, Kings 2". St. Louis Blues. Associated Press. December 21, 2006. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "2006–2007 – Regular Season – Skater – Points – Average Points Per Game". National Hockey League. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  6. ^ "Backes Remains a Blue". St. Louis Blues. July 1, 2008. Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  7. ^ "2008–09 St. Louis Blues [NHL]". Hockeydb.com. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
  8. ^ "Backes scores 4 goals, Blues beat Red Wings". April 3, 2009. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
  9. ^ "David Backes signs 5-year extension". November 12, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  10. ^ "Backes Named to 2011 All-Star Game: Forward leads the Blues in scoring with 12 goals and 21 assists (33 points)". National Hockey League. January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  11. ^ "Backes named Blues captain, Langenbrunner among assistants". The Sports Network. September 9, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  12. ^ "Bruins sign forward David Backes to five-year deal". Boston Bruins. July 1, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  13. ^ Pelletier, Joseph (November 24, 2016). "Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends.com - Smokey Harris". bruinslegends.blogspot.com. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Russo, Eric (November 24, 2016). "Need to Know: Bruins vs. Senators — Wait, There's More". Boston Bruins. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  15. ^ "Bruins Issue Update On David Backes". nhl.com/bruins. National Hockey League. November 1, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017. David Backes will undergo surgery on Thursday, November 2 to remove a portion of his colon. The expected recovery time is approximately 8 weeks...David's episode of diverticulitis at the beginning of the season was his second episode in two months...Repeated episodes, like what David experienced, have a very high likelihood of recurrence in the near term, which is why he was advised to have surgery to remove the area of colon causing the problem. It was determined that attempting to delay the surgery until after the season was an unacceptable risk to his health...David was cleared to play in the team's games on October 19 while waiting for his colon to properly heal from the most recent episode of diverticulitis which sidelined him for the first five games of the 2017–18 season. David was at no additional risk while playing during this period, and he is having the surgery as soon as the medical team felt comfortable moving forward with the operation.
  16. ^ "Backes suspended three games for interference in Bruins game". National Hockey League. March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Schlager, Brandon (March 17, 2018). "Bruins' David Backes cut by skate blade in net-front collision, leaves game". sportingnews.com. The Sporting News. Retrieved March 30, 2018. Bruins forward David Backes rushed off the ice clutching his bleeding right leg following a frightening collision Saturday against the Lightning. Gourde’s skate blade appeared to cut Backes near his knee or thigh as the two tumbled into the Tampa night at full speed toward the end of the first period.
  18. ^ "David Backes Stats and News - Last Five Games". National Hockey League. March 29, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominations announced". NHL.com. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  20. ^ "Backes suspended three games for actions in Bruins game against Devils". NHL.com. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c "U.S. add Blues players". iihf.com. April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  22. ^ "U.S. Men National Team Falls to Sweden, 4-2, in Bronze-Medal Game". teamusa.org. May 10, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  23. ^ "DAVID BACKES". teamusa.org. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  24. ^ Rutherford, Jeremy (March 9, 2010). "David Backes and Erik Johnson show off their Olympic silver medals". St. Louis Today. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  25. ^ "St. Louis Blues: Blues Will Be Very Well Represented in the Winter Olympics". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  26. ^ "Minnesota State Mavericks – Mavericks in the NHL". msumavericks.com. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  27. ^ "David Backes taking up fight to save dog on death row". CBS Sports. February 3, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  28. ^ Apstein, Stephanie (2017). "Gimme Shelter". Sports Illustrated. 126: 22–23.
  29. ^ "Cattle who escaped slaughter now living at animal sanctuary". ksdk.com. April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Eric Brewer
St. Louis Blues captain
Succeeded by
Alex Pietrangelo