Calgary Flames Sign Mikael Backlund To Three Year Contract


The Calgary Flames have announced a contract extension with center Mikael Backlund. The Swedish center has agreed to a three year contract that will pay him $3.575 million per season.

The 26 year old has scored at about half of a point per game pace for the past three seasons, proving to be a very valuable two way center for the Flames. He scored ten goals and 17 assists for 27 points in 52 games last season. That’s a pace that would have seen Backlund score 43 points had he stayed healthy all year.

Backlund is showing to be a very consistent offensive producer, averaging just over half of a point per game for each of the past three seasons. You would have hoped for a little more offense when he was taken with the 24th pick of the 2007 NHL Draft, but Backlund is a great middle of the lineup center.

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Though Backlund has shown a penchant for chipping in some offence, it is his defensive game that makes him the most valuable to the Flames lineup. Backlund played a second line role last season, facing the opposition’s top players much of the time and played a huge role on the penalty kill.

Backlund partnered with winger Lance Bouma to form the team’s top penalty killing unit and helped the team kill of just over 80% of their penalties. Backlund also scored led the team by scoring a pair of goals while shorthanded last season.

May 5, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) celebrates goal by Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (not pictured) against the Anaheim Ducks during the overtime period in game three of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

At 26, it is unlikely that Backlund will break out any further offensively and his ceiling may be 45 points over a full season. He played a solid role as the second line center last season, but may be best fit as a third line center who plays against top opposition and allows the Flames top two center to play a more offensive role.

With Sean Monahan firmly entrenched as the team’s top center and Sam Bennett likely to take over the second line duties in the near future, Backlund will likely spend most of this three year deal on the third line.

Although $3.575 million sounds like a bit much for a third line player, when you factor in he would be one of the league’s best third line centres, can play all situations and is a top penalty killer, it is an extremely fair contract for both sides.

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