Roundup: Backlund extension, Jakob Pelletier injury, Heritage Classic jersey revealed

Apr 4, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (11) during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (11) during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Welcome to the Flame for Thought Roundup. Whenever there are multiple tidbits of Calgary Flames info floating around the prairies of Alberta, we’ll round ‘em up for you and wrangle them into quick-hit articles like this one. Today: Jakob Pelletier injury, Backlund extension, and the Flames’ Heritage Classic uniform.

Mikael Backlund extension update

Last week, I wrote that Flames fans should expect Mikael Backlund to extend and be named the Flames’ captain. According to Elliotte Friedman’s most recent written version of 32 Thoughts, Backlund’s camp and Flames’ management are getting closer to an agreement. Usually when Friedman is reporting with numbers like this, a deal isn’t far away and the term and AAV are pretty accurate:

"My prediction on Mikael Backlund: he signs in the neighbourhood of three years at a $5.5 million AAV. We will see how accurate I am. It’s always a grind to get there, but there is a will on both sides."

Personally, I don’t mind the projected term. Three years is the max length I’d be willing to go considering Backlund will be 38 by the time it expires, but despite his age, Backlund is still an outstanding two-way player. His line has consistently outscored its opponents for the better part of a decade, he’s coming off his best-ever offensive season, won the Flames’ team MVP award, and scored a better clip than any other Calgary Flame down the stretch last season.

My issue however is with the AAV Friedman mentioned. Currently concluding a six-year deal with an AAV of $5.35M, I was of the mind that a three-year extension would be attached to a lower AAV as the long-time Flames centreman enters his twilight years. A raise – even if only by $150,000 – would not be good cap management by Conroy. In addition to UFAs on expiring deals (Backlund, Lindholm, Hanifin, Zadorov, Tanev, Kylington, Oesterle), Dillon Dube, Pelletier, and Adam Ruzicka will become RFAs this summer, while Andrew Mangiapane and Yegor Sharangovich will need new deals before 2025/26.

Yes, the cap is set to go up this summer. No, that is not a reason to overpay a player, no matter how much he means to the city and franchise. I love Mikael Backlund, but Conroy needs to do better than Treliving did then it comes to cap and asset management. In today’s NHL, that’s how you build a winning team.

Here’s Robert Munnich (@RingOfFireCGY on Twitter/X) of FlamesNation on the topic:

Post-publishing Mikael Backlund update

Friedman has updated his Backlund extension information. The rumoured term is down to two years with a $4.5M AAV.

I like this potential deal much more than 3 x $5.5M.

Friedman’s claims are supported by Frank Seravalli, who chimed in on the topic:

It sounds like this deal could be done today. Expect announcements from the Flames on Mikael Backlund’s extension and captaincy in the very near future.

Jakob Pelletier injury update

In his first pre-season game, Flames forward Jakob Pelletier took a hit from Kraken skater Marián Studenič. Pelletier fell awkwardly into the boards and left the game, visibly in pain. According to the Flames, the 22-year-old forward, who was likely en route to earning his first full-time NHL roster spot, will be out indefinitely undergoing and recovering from shoulder surgery. Here’s the update from the Calgary Flames:

Calgary Flames Heritage Classic jersey revealed

The Flames are set to play an outdoor game at Commonwealth Stadium on October 29th. While the allure of outdoor games has worn off with the NHL holding Heritage Classic, Winter Classic, and Stadium Series games regularly over the past 20 years, an outdoor Battle of Alberta is must-watch hockey.

Yesterday, the Flames revealed their uniform for the game. Here’s Nazem Kadri modelling the primarily off-white jersey:

My thoughts on the Flames’ uniform are of course subjective:

  • Unique detailing on the Flaming C makes what would otherwise be a boring circular crest a little more interesting.
  • The usage of felt on the crest and numbers is a nice “heritage” touch.
  • I’m glad the Flames aren’t wearing brown or cream coloured pants and gloves.
  • The red helmet might look good on TV, but perhaps a white (or off-white) helmet would have been more traditional.
  • The uniform is crisp, clean, classic, and overall I’d give it a 7/10. I’m not in love with it, but it’s better than a lot of other teams’ outdoor uniforms from recent years.
  • The Calgary Flames Heritage Classic sweater is way better than Edmonton’s horrendous brown/orange/blue travesty that was revealed at the same time. Regardless of the outcome, the Flames will be aesthetically superior on the ice at Commonwealth next month.

Next. Calgary Flames 2023/24 Season Preview. dark