Jan 28, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (11) celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mikael Backlund, Re-Introducing Your Calgary Flames

Here is the first of 31 “re-introductions” to your Calgary Flames.  Honestly, it’s a way for your editor to learn more about his new favorite team.  I’m hoping along the way that the articles help you feel a tad closer to your team as well.  If I make any mistakes, please be polite, and correct me in the comment box.  Let’s learn together starting with Mikael Backlund.

Born on St. Patrick’s Day 1989, the Swede was a 1st round, 24th overall draft pick of the Calgary Flames in 2007.  From the website Hockey Futures, here is their talent analysis of Mr. Backlund:

The speedy center is a premier play maker. He has incredibly soft hands, especially in tight with the goal. He often makes passes that only an elite few can accomplish. His strong shot makes him a one-shot scoring threat every time he laces them up. His defensive play makes him a very complete player.

Checking out The Hockey News for a more recent assessment of Mr. Backlund, here it is:

Assets: Has very good skating ability, two-way upside and the playmaking skills needed to put up points.  A determined player, he can play either center or wing.

Flaws: Needs to continue adding strength to his 6-0 frame in order to better fend off opposing defensemen.  Must also improve his game-to-game consistency.

Last season was the 2nd time in Backlund’s career that he played over 70 games in a season with the Flames.  In 2010-11, Backlund played 73 games scoring 10 goals and adding 15 assists.  Last season, Backlund played in 76 games scoring 18 goals and adding 21 assists.  Career highs for Mr. Backlund in both categories.

Mikael Backlund is set to become a restricted free agent after this season.  The debate has already started on other blogs about how aggressively the Calgary Flames should try to sign Backlund to another contract.  Let’s start that debate amongst our Flame For Thought family.

With Mikael Backlund in the last season of his contract, what would you do if you were Flames GM?

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