So he should have earned his playing time, but he should have been given playing time even if he wasn't earning it, while Evans, who despite his lack of an NHL future who has been doing his job, should have been benched.
The bottom line is that Backman didn't do enough to prove he was good enough to play in the AHL. End of story.
So Evans' job in the AHL > Backman's job in the AHL + his potential job at the NHL level.
Perhaps I'm underestimating the importance of a plug, who's scored zero points at the AHL. It's fantastic that Blashill feels he's got more intangibles, or brings leadership to the team, or whatever... but I think it's a very short-sighted strategy. Grand Rapids is what... 10th or 11th in the West? What exactly are they winning, and how is Brennan Evans helping? How does Backman playing in his spot hinder their "success" this season?
I admit, Backman leaving is a short-sighted move on his part. As much as he's responsible for his development, management is just as responsible, if not more. He's a suck for leaving, but I truly believe this is an example of mismanagement as well. To say that the onus is on a 22 year-old kid for leaving, what he feels to be a situation that is hindering his potential, is kind of ridiculous, IMO.
Backman's playing in the SEL and likely not coming back - that's partially on him, but there's more to it in my view. This team can't or won't move Kindl, and won't sit Brennan Evans. Both contributed to this situation.