The Boston Bruins placed 14-year NHL forward David Backes on waivers Friday with the intention of assigning him to Providence of the American Hockey League.
Backes, 35, who played on only 16 games with Boston this season, registered one goal and two assists.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said, "I have a lot of respect for [Backes] as a human being and what he's accomplished in this league. We brought him in to give us some of that bite -- that's been a subject around here for the last few days, and that's something we had hoped [for with Backes]. And it was there for a while but then some concussions came into play and I think that affects your decision as a coach to put a player on the ice."
In 944 career games in the NHL, Backes has collected 554 points (245 goals, 309 assists), playing 10 seasons with the St. Louis Blues before joining the Bruins as a free agent before the 2016-17 season.
Backes, who made the All-Star team in 2011, has been on the both ends of head injuries during his career, including sustaining one this season after a collision with Ottawa Senators forward Scott Sabourin that kept him out for almost a month.
In December 2018, the NHL suspended Backes for three games without pay for what the league called "an illegal check to the head" of New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman. In March 2018, he was also handed a three-game suspension for a late hit on Frans Nielsen of the Detroit Red Wings.
On Friday, Bruins teammate Patrice Bergeron praised Backes on Twitter, writing: "The impact that he's had ever since he got here, on and off the ice, his leadership that he brought ... he was a big part of the mentality that we've built here. We wish him all the best. We're going to miss him."
If the Bruins decide to buy out the final years of Backes' contract, it would cost the club $4 million in 2020-21 and $1 million in 2021-22, according to the Sporting News. After this season, Backes would be free to seek a position with another NHL team.
--Field Level Media