While the two years and $12 million ($6 million AAV) remaining on David Backes’ contract has grinded the Bruins’ offseason plans to a halt, the veteran’s deal is not the lone albatross mucking up a club’s cap situation in 2019 and beyond.
Whether it be Brent Seabrook’s deal with the Blackhawks (8 years, $6.875 million AAV through 2024-25), Milan Lucic’s contract he inked with Edmonton three years ago (7 years, $6 million AAV through 2023) and even the 14-year megadeal for Shea Weber that will see the blue liner counting for $7.87 million against the cap for Montreal in 2025-26 — there are plenty of agreements that are already squeezing teams financially, or will start to in the coming years.
But unlike Backes’ situation in Boston, some of these deals have managed to be jettisoned from their original team, especially this summer.
In the last week alone, two brutal contracts were freed off the books from their respective franchises — with the Oilers ridding themselves of Lucic’s deal in a trade with the Flames, and the Golden Knights dealing both a fourth-round pick and David Clarkson (and the final year of his 7-year, $36.75 million contract) back to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for netminder Garret Sparks.
For Bruins fans, it can be frustrating to see how other teams have managed to rid themselves of these deals while the B’s and their $7.2 million in cap space are still stuck in neutral — searching for ways to clear cash in order to re-sign RFAs in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo and explore other avenues to fine tune its roster.
But unlike the deals struck for Lucic and Clarkson, the situation with Backes and the Bruins is far more complicated.