Man, what a difficult go of it for David Backes. After a diverticulitis diagnosis was announced on opening night, Backes was slated to miss a month. After that first month, he had surgery on his intestine to extract the infection, which was supposed to sideline him for two more months; he was back on the ice within three weeks. Now, we know hockey players are tough, but my father has had a similar operation and you can’t help but lose loads of muscle mass - you’re not allowed to eat much of anything for at least a week. Follow that eventful fall with a slice to the leg and what seemed to be a concussion in the last game against Tampa Bay in the second round, and it was not an easy ride for Backes last season.
SCoC Average Grade: C-
My original grade: D+
My “feel bad” revised grade: B-
Why three grades? I may have been a little bitter when the season ended and didn’t like the look of Backes’ on-ice performance in the playoffs, so recency bias had an effect. However, Backes nearly met his ‘16-’17 points total in 17 fewer games, and was a structurally sound addition to the second power-play unit at times. Were he to play a full or nearly-full season, it wouldn’t be outrageous to see him approach 50 points, which is probably his ceiling at this point (and, recall that his season high was 62 points back in 2011). Granted, he is being sheltered with young linemates, but if it makes him productive, so be it. In his recent chat with NHL.com, Backes predicted that his troubles from last season likely won’t repeat themselves, which would be a great thing for him, and for Boston. Here’s hoping he can put together a solid, complete slate in the coming year.
How would you rate David Backes’ ‘17-’18 season?
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