While the list of underachieving forwards for the St. Louis Blues this season is lengthy, perhaps no player’s production drop-off is as troubling for the team heading into the postseason as that of David Backes. The veteran center may be second on the team with 26 points, but he has only scored six goals. In a shortened season there should be little expectation for him to match the 24 goals he scored last season or the 31 goals he scored in 2010-11, his current production is about a quarter of normal. Some credit for this lapse goes to the balance of the Blues offense, as eight players have 20 points or more. With the Blues desperately needing more goals, Backes needs to step up in the final three games of the season.
Backes is seeing top-line time with David Perron and Alex Steen, and while he isn’t the only forward underachieving at the moment, the Blues count on him to do more. He managed a goal in Sunday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche, but that was his first in nine games. He started April strong with two goals in three games, but that came after a 13-game scoring drought. Backes has also been a non-factor on the power play, where he has managed only one goal and five points this season.
Where Backes has come up lacking, Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrik Berglund have stepped up. If the Blues hope to soon clinch a playoff spot and hang on to sixth place in the conference, they will need more from their captain.