On Sunday, we published a preview of some of the centers that the Colorado Avalanche should look at on the free agent market this summer. Amongst the names was St. Louis Blues captain David Backes. On the list, Backes found himself ranked No. 2.  Based on his actions on Wednesday, he may have just moved up to the top spot.

On Wednesday, the Blues were eliminated from the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, two wins shy of appearing in their first Stanley Cup Final since their inaugural season, long before any of their current players were born.

In the contest, Backes played fine. Despite going pointless, he his normal, physical self, paced all players with six hits. He also had four shots and blocked one of San Jose’s. That being said, it was nothing he did on the ice that elevated him in my mind, it was what he did off of it.

Backes has always been an emotional guy. That emotion is usually anger, as he tried to skate or punch his way through his opponents. After Wednesday’s game, he showed a different emotion entirely.

In the locker room after seeing their season come to an end, many Blues players were at a loss for words. As a good captain should, Backes still took the time to talk to the media. In the interview that followed, he teared up when talking about how much his teammates meant to him.

Bwaaa? There’s no crying in hockey! In this case, I feel an exception can be made. Backes didn’t ball, he may not have even shed a tear, but he was chocked up. He simply cared that much.

He cared about the game. He cared about his teammates. He cared about the organization and its fans. He was overcome with emotion. More emotion than I saw out of any Avalanche player last season.

That’s not to say that the Avalanche players don’t care. They do deeply. I was in the locker room after the Avalanche saw their season end. They were noticeably upset, disappointed with themselves. They get emotional at times. That being said, there’s a difference between showing your emotions and being overcome by them.

Backes wears his on his sleeve. He’s honest. He’s passionate. Not only is he the type of player the Avalanche need; he’s exactly the type of man the Avalanche need.

That is not to say the Avalanche are interested. That is not to say they can afford him. Heck, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he returns to the Blues at a discounted rate.  That being said, if the Avalanche could find a way to sign Backes, they would be a lot of better off.  Not only on the ice, but in the locker room as well.