David Backes

David Anthony Backes (born May 1, 1984) is an American former professional ice hockey forward. He played for fifteen seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks. Backes was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but grew up in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota.

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 37)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Centre/Right wing
Shot Right
Played for St. Louis Blues
Boston Bruins
Anaheim Ducks
National team  United States
NHL Draft 62nd overall, 2003
St. Louis Blues
Playing career 2005–2021

After two seasons of junior hockey with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League, Backes was selected 62nd overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Following his draft, he joined the Minnesota State Mavericks men's 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 careerEdit


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]

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 (2006–2016)Edit

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 0.47.[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.

Backes during a game with the Blues in February 2011

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.

With 21 goals and 24 assists during the 2015-16 season, Backes would help lead the Blues to their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 2001. During the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he scored seven goals with seven assists.

Boston Bruins (2016–2020)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. On July 1, 2016, Backes agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal with the Boston Bruins.[12]

Backes with the Bruins in October 2017

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]

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; it was carried out on November 2, with a projected 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 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]

In the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, Backes would faceoff against the team that he once captained, the St. Louis Blues. The Bruins would ultimately lose to the Blues in seven games. Backes appeared in 15 games during Boston's run to the Finals, tallying two goals and three assists.

Anaheim Ducks (2020–2021)Edit

On February 21, 2020, the Bruins traded Backes, prospect Axel Andersson and a 2020 first-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Ondřej Kaše.[21]

On May 5, 2021, Backes played his final NHL game against his former team, the St. Louis Blues, in which he received a standing ovation.[22]


On September 9, 2021, Backes signed a one-day contract with the St. Louis Blues in order to officially retire as a member of the team.[22][23]

International playEdit

Backes during the 2010 Winter Olympics
Medal record
Ice hockey
Representing the   United States
Olympic Games
  2010 Vancouver

Following his rookie NHL season, Backes was named to the United States' national team for the 2007 IIHF World Championship.[24] 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,[24] 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,[24] 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.[25]

On January 1, 2010, Backes was named to the United States' roster for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28] 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.

Personal lifeEdit

Backes and his wife Kelly have two children. Backes is a Christian.[29][30]

Backes got his private pilot's 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 had formerly studied to become an electrical engineer.[31]

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.[32] In November 2013, they founded Athletes for Animals, an organization to raise funds and awareness for rescuing and protecting the welfare of homeless pets.[33]

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 and Kelly helping provide support to the community based GoFundMe campaigns created for their freedom.[34]

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1999–2000 Spring Lake Park High School HS-MN 24 17 20 37
2000–01 Spring Lake Park High School HS-MN 24 29 46 75
2001–02 Spring Lake Park High School HS-MN 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
2018–19 Boston Bruins NHL 70 7 13 20 31 15 2 3 5 2
2019–20 Boston Bruins NHL 16 1 2 3 16
2019–20 Anaheim Ducks NHL 6 0 3 3 6
2020–21 Anaheim Ducks NHL 15 3 1 4 4
NHL totals 965 248 313 561 1148 82 17 22 39 63


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   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 honorsEdit

Backes competes in the hardest shot skills competition during the 2011 NHL All-Star Game
Award Year
Finalist, Minnesota Mr. Hockey 2002
All-USHL First Team 2003
All-WCHA Rookie Team 2004
All-WCHA Third Team 2005
WCHA All-Academic Team 2005, 2006
All-WCHA Second Team 2006
AHCA West Second-Team All-American 2006
ESPN Academic All-America First Team 2006
NHL All-Star Game 2011
Frank J. Selke Trophy Finalist 2012


  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. Archived from the original on November 25, 2016. 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. ^ "Ducks' David Backes: Shipped to Anaheim". CBSSports.com. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Longtime Blues forward David Backes inks 1-day contract to retire with St. Louis". theathletic.com. September 9, 2021. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  23. ^ "https://twitter.com/stlouisblues/status/1435981461027532800". Twitter. Retrieved September 9, 2021. External link in |title= (help)
  24. ^ a b c "U.S. add Blues players". iihf.com. April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  25. ^ "U.S. Men National Team Falls to Sweden, 4-2, in Bronze-Medal Game". teamusa.org. May 10, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  26. ^ "DAVID BACKES". teamusa.org. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  27. ^ Rutherford, Jeremy (March 9, 2010). "David Backes and Erik Johnson show off their Olympic silver medals". St. Louis Today. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  28. ^ "St. Louis Blues: Blues Will Be Very Well Represented in the Winter Olympics". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  29. ^ Leypoldt, Don. "Right Place, Right Time".
  30. ^ Mercer, Kevin (May 8, 2019). "Boston Bruins forward David Backes bounces back in NHL playoffs as he leans on God".
  31. ^ "Minnesota State Mavericks – Mavericks in the NHL". msumavericks.com. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  32. ^ "David Backes taking up fight to save dog on death row". CBS Sports. February 3, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  33. ^ Apstein, Stephanie (2017). "Gimme Shelter". Sports Illustrated. 126: 22–23.
  34. ^ "Cattle who escaped slaughter now living at animal sanctuary". ksdk.com. April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by St. Louis Blues captain
Succeeded by