Mikael Backlund Finding His Feet

Kent Wilson
February 18 2010 02:44PM

Upper Deck NHL Rookie Debut

 

It's been something of a rocky start to his (North American) pro career for the Flames top prospect this year. His early returns with the Abbotsford Heat were unimpressive, lagging behind the likes of Jamie Lundmark, Jason Jaffray, Kris Chucko and David Van der Gulik.

However, there were some indications that Backlund was actually performing pretty well, despite the lackluster point totals. He was amongst the top 10 shooters (in terms of generating shots on net) in the AHL prior to his call-up to the Flames, which is no mean feat for a 21 year old rookie. During his recent cup of coffee with the big squad, Backlund managed to hold his own at even strength at both ends of the ice. While he was hadly dominant, the kid was able to keep his head above water rather convincingly, which was a marked step forward compared to his previous forays at the NHL level.

Reports from the Heat recently are also positive. Apparently during his first appearance for the farm team, Backlund was dominant, scoring two goals, firing 8 shots and finishing +2 on the evening. This, despite skating on a line with Brett Sutter (checking forward) and Evan Barlow (who?). Those are the kind of results that are far more in-line with expectations I'd say. 

There's a good chance that Backlund will find himself back on the big team once play resumes, but here's hoping he continues to knock the ball out for Abbotsford in the mean time.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 RossCreekNation
February 18 2010, 03:11PM
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Do you think Backlund's play could make it a tad easier for Darryl to deal Boyd if necassary? I'm not really for trading Boyd, but not really against it... depends on the deal, I guess. But it is nice to know there is a young body to replace him if they were to deal him away. Maybe Darryl's done dealing til the offseason...

In any case, its nice to see that Backlund's time up with the Flames seems to have created some confidence for him. I'd definitely expect to see him recalled upon the conclusion of the break, even with the extra bodies.

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#3 Jess
February 18 2010, 03:40PM
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I've seen Backlund play several times. He's actually BETTER in the NHL. I almost feel like he's more in tune with the speed of the NHL than that of the AHL. To my eyes, he's money better spent on the big club, by far. I feel for Boyd, but being scratched over Jamal Mayers.. not so hot.

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#4 R O
February 18 2010, 04:01PM
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I've seen Backlund play several times. He's actually BETTER in the NHL. I almost feel like he's more in tune with the speed of the NHL than that of the AHL. To my eyes, he's money better spent on the big club, by far. I feel for Boyd, but being scratched over Jamal Mayers.. not so hot.

This is probably almost entirely due to his role on the big club, which is to play the most buttery soft minutes that Sutter could possibly manage for him.

In fact the way that you put it, makes me think that Backlund's getting thrown into the deep end in Abbotsford. That's for the best really, if Backlund is going to turn into anything good then he's going to have to have some huge seasons soon.

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