BOSTON — The NHL-leading Boston Bruins freed up salary cap space Friday by trading veteran forward David Backes and a first-round draft pick to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Ondrej Kase.
Anaheim also acquired 20-year-old prospect Axel Andersson, a defenseman, in the deal completed three days before the NHL’s trade deadline.
The Bruins benefit by trading the 35-year-old Backes, who has spent the past month in limbo since being placed on waivers and assigned to the minors.
Backes has been working out on his own since declining to report to AHL Providence in mid-January. Two weeks later, Bruins GM Don Sweeney announced that it was in both sides’ best interest for Backes not to play in the minors.
Backes is in the fourth year of a five-year, $30 million contract and had just one goal and two assists in 16 games with the Bruins.
The Bruins agreed to retain 25% of Backes’ salary.
Overall, the two-time Minnesota-born Olympian is a six-time 20-goal-scorer whose production has tailed off since spending his first 10 seasons with St. Louis. He had just 39 goals and 94 points in 217 games with Boston.
Kase has missed the past five games with flu-like symptoms and won’t join the Bruins until they return home after completing a four-game road swing at Vancouver on Saturday.
Kase is a secondary line player who has seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points in 49 games with the Ducks this season. Overall, he has 43 goals and 53 assists for 96 points in 198 career games over three-plus seasons in Anaheim.
The 24-year-old from the Czech Republic is in the second year of a three-year, $7.8 million contract.
Andersson was selected by Boston in the second round of the 2018 draft and has two goals and 22 points in 41 games with Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.