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07-02-2008, 02:04 AM
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More info on the offer sheet from Andy Strickland:

The Vancouver Canucks have had their eye on Blues forward David Backes for several weeks.

Several days ago Vancouver approached St. Louis with a trade offer that would have sent Backes to Vancouver. Itís unclear who the Blues would have received in return but sources say the offer wasnít worth taking seriously.

The same situation occurred on Monday when once again Vancouver GM Mike Gillis phoned St. Louis in an effort to trade for Backes, again St. Louis rejected the offer.

I had originally thought the offer sheet given to Backes caught the Blues completely off guard but after doing some investigating I discovered Vancouver informed St. Louis on Monday that an offer sheet was on the way.

The Blues and Backes have had many discussions over the last several weeks but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. Backes had every intention of taking the Blues to arbitration if a no agreement was reached by July 5th.

The Blues and the agent for Backes never discussed a contract longer than two years. Itís more than safe to say that if the case was heard before an arbitrator, Backes would have probably been awarded a two year deal totaling somewhere between 3 and 3.5 million dollars.

Obviously a three year contract worth 7.5 million is a surprise to everyone involved here, but thatís what offer sheets do, they pay a player more than the individual is worth. Is Backes worth 2.5 million right now? Obviously not, but again this is part of todayís NHL.

At the end of the day, when the contract expires, there is a decent chance Backes will be worth every bit of the 2.5 million heíll be getting paid.

This is hardly a contract thatís going to kill the Blues financially. In fact Blues Owner Dave Checketts wasted no time in deciding to match the offer. The Blues canít afford to lose Backes for a number of reasons. Heís a valuable player for the Blues moving forward, this kid has plenty of character and money wonít change or affect his motivation to become a complete player.

This contract will put more focus on Backes heading into the season and he will need to find a way to become a more consistent offensive performer.

Please keep in mind that even though Backes likely would have been awarded a two year deal worth 3 to 3.5 million in an arbitration case, this hardly means the Blues should have negotiated a contract just to prevent Vancouver from signing their player to an offer sheet. It was going to take a deal in the neighborhood of $2 million per season to make that happen and the Blues felt this number was too high.

At the end of the day it didnít matter, Backes still got his money after St. Louis was forced to give it to him.

Scott Mellanby who is a full-time St. Louis resident wasted little time in making his presence felt as a Canucks employee. Mellanby watches plenty of Blues hockey and even contacted former Blues players in an effort to gather information about Backes.

Ryan Johnson wasnít a bad plan B for Mellanby and the Canucks. As I have already reported Johnsonís deal is worth 2.4 million over two seasons.

The Blues must find a way to replace a whole lot of character they've lost inside the dressing room. With Doug Weight, Bryce Salvador, Jamal Mayers, and now Ryan Johnson leaving the club, that's a boatload of experience and leadership leaving town.

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