Former St. Louis Blues captain David Backes said he got goosebumps thinking about joining a team that already includes centers like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

“These guys get it,” the free agent forward said Friday after signing with the Boston Bruins in the first 30 minutes of NHL free agency. “They know what it’s going to take to win. That’s what sold me on it. … If you have prominent players that are putting team first, the rest of the guys really have no choice.”

A two-time U.S. Olympian, Backes agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal with the Bruins and said he hoped to be a part of the “retooling” that would put the Original Six club back in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Backes, 32, is the first major addition this offseason for a team that won the 2011 Stanley Cup and returned to the finals two years later. The team re-signed defenseman Torey Krug and bought out the contract of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on Thursday. Free agents Loui Eriksson and Lee Stempniak agreed to deals with the Canucks and Carolina, respectively.

Also signing with Boston on the first day of free agency were defensemen Tommy Cross and John-Michael Liles, goalie Anton Khudobin, and forwards Riley Nash, Tyler Randell and Tim Schaller.

“They’re trying to get pieces back that will get them over the hump,” Backes said. “They barely missed the playoffs last year, and if they had (made it) I don’t think anyone would have wanted to play them.”

Backes had 21 goals and 24 assists last season for the Blues. In a 10-year NHL career – all with St. Louis – he has 206 goals and 254 assists in 727 regular-season games.

SABRES: Buffalo signed former Islanders forward Kyle Okposo to a seven-year deal worth a reported $42 million in one of the first deals completed after the signing period opened.

OILERS: Edmonton signed Milan Lucic to a $42 million, seven-year deal, reuniting the left wing with former Boston GM Peter Chiarelli.

LIGHTNING: Two days after Steven Stamkos decided to return, top defenseman Victor Hedman signed a $63 million, eight-year extension to remain with the club.

ISLANDERS: New York signed forward Andrew Ladd to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract and forward Jason Chimera to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.

FLAMES: Calgary signed winger Troy Brouwer to a four-year deal worth a reported $4.5 million annually and gave a one-year deal to goaltender Chad Johnson worth a reported $1.7 million.

WILD: Center Eric Staal agreed to a three-year, $10.5 million contract with the team following one of the worst seasons of his career, split between Carolina and the Rangers.