25-Year-Old Center – Calgary Flames
Mikael Backlund Contract Information:
Backlund re-signed with the Flames to a one-year deal in July of 2013.
Backlund (abdominal surgery) skated on his own prior to Thursday's practice, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports.
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|2014-15 Proj||25||NHL||CGY||77||Subscribe now to see our 2014-15 projections for Mikael Backlund|
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|View Mikael Backlund's Full Game Log|
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Mikael Backlund: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
It's a do or die year for Backlund, who has failed to live up to expectations in his first four years in the NHL. The first-round pick (2007) has only 62 points in 170 games and has struggled with inconsistency and injuries. Nonetheless, with Calgary rebuilding, perhaps some of the pressure will be off Backlund and he can finally start to live up to his draft promise. He will compete for the No. 2 center spot, but his inability to score consistently should scare any fantasy owners away.
The 2011-12 season was a disaster for Backlund, as he started the season as Calgary’s No. 1 center, then saw a lack of consistent play and injuries leave him fighting for a spot in the top four lines. He will look to remind coaches of what they saw of him in 2010-11, when he had 10 goals and 15 assists, as the No. 2 center spot in Calgary is still up for grabs. He has great potential, but he has to show that ability in games again.
Backlund, the Flames' first-round draft selection of 2007, stands out as one of the top prospects on an organization that has a shortage of noteworthy young guns. His ascension to the NHL had been an arduous process, though a neck injury to Daymond Langkow allowed Backlund to stay up with the club for the majority of the season. In 73 games of NHL action, the Swede posted 10 goals and 15 assists, though he still watched a handful of games from the press box as a healthy scratch. He will be one to watch this season, as he can score and distribute the puck just as easily.
Backlund more than held his own in a 23-game trial with the Flames last year, notching one goal and nine assists while playing on multiple lines. Whenever you look at a young player's numbers with the Flames, you have to take the system into account - this was a system that depressed offense, so Backlund's output is better than it looks. Backlund also fared well at the team's developmental camp this summer, and he's got a good chance to surpass Daymond Langkow in the Flames' pecking order and stick with the team all season long.
Backlund is a bright prospect who finally came over to the WHL late last season after spending close to four years with Vasteras IK in Sweden. He notched 30 points in 28 games with Kelowna (WHL), showing that his skills will translate to the North American game just fine. The Flames will give him a long look during camp and even if he does wind up getting sent down to the AHL he could still make an impact at some point during the 2009-10 season if injuries hit the Flames' roster. Keep him on your radar, especially in keeper leagues.
Backlund has spent the past three seasons with Vasteras IK in Sweden, scoring 20 points in 67 games in the process. He also helped Sweden to a silver medal at the IIHF World Junior Championships earlier in 2008. The No. 24 pick should get a shot at making the team in the fall, but unfortunately for him, the Flames are extremely deep at center. Don't completely count him out, however.
The Flames' first round pick in 2007, Calgary expects big things out of the Swede Backlund in the future. The 18-year-old does not have overwhelming scoring power, but he is a great two-way player that should have a long career in the NHL. Give him a couple years before that happens, however, especially with his recent knee injury.
Backlund is pure talent but his pre-draft ranking plummeted after a serious knee injury kept him off the radar for about four months. He's healthy and ready to go now, and could be a real steal if he can bulk up for the pro game. Thnk a point-per-game output, folks -- that's pretty nice fantasy fodder. His injury has put him under the radar; it shouldn't scare you off.