Calgary Flames Daily: ASG today, Mikael Backlund’s contract

CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 22: Mikael Backlund
CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 22: Mikael Backlund /

Happy All-Star skill competition day! Two Calgary Flames players are in Tampa for it right now. And what’s going on with Mikael Backlund’s contract?

It’s one of my favourite days in the NHL season: All-Star skills competition day. Last year, Mike Smith shot a puck down from the other end of the ice into a five-hole shot. Basically, it was an impossible goal. And just a few days ago, Jonathan Quick opted out of the All-Star game, so the Calgary Flames netminder got the go-ahead. He’ll be joining teammate Johnny Gaudreau, who will be at his fourth All-Star appearance in just his fourth NHL season.

However, Smith won’t be participating in the accuracy shot competition. Which is rude, but we’ll have to live with it I guess. The competition begins at 5pm MT. And if you want your heart to feel warm, head over to the Arizona Coyotes snapchat to see Oliver Ekman-Larsson, aka Uncle Oliver, who was still playing with Smith’s kids. Who’s chopping onions here?

On a less-fun side of things, people are expecting a Mikael Backlund contract extension before the season ends. Backlund would have hoped to get it out of the way this past off-season, but that didn’t quite work out.

Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames /

Calgary Flames

Via Calgary Sun:

"“I wish I didn’t have to deal with it during the season, but it’s part of business and we’re professionals and have to deal with it. Both sides want the best, so we’ll see what happens.“I was pushing for (a new contract) in the summer and talking to my agent (J.P. Barry) then, but things got a little crazy with everything that was going on before the season started. All the (Jaromir) Jagr situation and, ‘who is going to stay and who is going to go,’ and all that — I know Tre (Flames GM Brad Treliving) was busy. It was a busy time.”"

The Flames will certainly not let Backlund become a free-agent, but at this point in the season, no time is a good time for contract times. As the Ryan Pike wrote, the Flames benefit tremendously with Backlund on the ice.

"It’s one thing to play well and prevent the opposition from doing so, but Backlund’s become associated with what The Athletic‘s Kent Wilson has described as “the Backlund Bump.” In short? Backlund consistently makes his teammates better, in that their possession statistics are significantly boosted by their presence on his line.Past major beneficiaries of the Backlund Bump include:Paul Byron: +11.5% (2013-14)Mike Cammalleri: +8.5% (2013-14)Matthew Tkachuk: +8.4% (2016-17)Lance Bouma: +8.1% (2014-15)David Jones: +5.8% (2014-15)Jiri Hudler: +5.1% (2013-14)"

They may wait until the end of the season since the Calgary Flames are fighting for the playoffs right now, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Some links surrounding the Flames

‘Who is this kid?!’: Flames scout knew right away Gaudreau had star potential (Calgary Sun).

Flames Thoughts: Battle of Alberta lives up to the hype (Sportsnet).

Flames assign trio of forwards to AHL Stockton (Sportsnet).

Flames Need Mikael Backlund (The Hockey Writers).

Some links surrounding hockey and the NHL

New York Rangers preparing for fire sale at NHL trade deadline (FanSided).

Visual Primer: 2018 NHL All-Star Skills Competition (Sportsnet).

Oilers to play in Sweden, Jets in Finland as part of NHL international schedule (Sportsnet).

Next: David Rittich deserves more than back-to-back starts

That’s all in today’s Flames Daily!