Random Thoughts - More MIkael Backlund

Kent Wilson
November 25 2013 09:13AM

 

 

With Darren Dreger recently tweeting that the Flames are shopping Backlund, it seems more and more that the former first rounders time with the organization is drawing to a close. We've defended backs around here a lot over the years, so this is going to seem redundant, but here's a bit on why moving him for pennies on the dollar is a bad bet.

It's been well established around these parts - Mikael Backlund is a top-5 player on this team in terms of driving possession. He led the Calgary Flames forwards by that metric over the last two years and is top-3 amongst regular forwards this year (despite starting from the defensive end more often). He's not an overly compelling player in general because he doesn't regularly do the spectacular stuff - he doesn't fight or smash people into the boards and his offense is uneven at best. All he does is drive play into the offensive end.

An apt comparison might be baseball player Scott Hatteberg from the Oakland A's (featured in Moneyball). Billy Beane signed Hatteberg off the scrap heap because he was good at getting on base - an unsexy metric (at the time) that correlated to runs and wins.

Because OBP was unsexy it was also cheap. Corsi and other possession metrics are the same in hockey today - over the long run, a higher corsi rating correlates with a better goal differential and wins, but in the short term it's something that can be overwhelmed by the osscilations of fortune. The best teams in the league tend to consistently control the puck and spend more time in the offensive zone, meaning they aren't overly reliant on all world goaltending or a high shooting percentage. Ergo, to eventually become a good team, the club should collect and keep as many possession players as possible.

Backlund, at 24 years old, does things that help teams win over the long-term. He's not elite, so he can't turn the boat around by himself, and his offense is underwhelming relative to his skill set. Unfortunately, that often means people focus on what Backlund isn't rather than what he is - a useful, cheap, middle-tier forward who drives play in almost any circumstance.

- Another problem with trading Backlund now is the org is unlikely to get much in return for him. Because he doesn't have good counting numbers and there are now questions about his viability as an NHLer, Calgary will be lucky to do better than a second round pick or middling prospect in return. It's the kind of move the Oilers made in the early stages of their rebuild (see: Kyle Brodziak). Giving away established 24-year old centerman out of frustration or because he isn't an bovious star is a good way to spin your wheels.

- It looks like to me that the decision makers have decided they'd rather bet on Colborne than Backlund moving forward, which results in the log-jam and "need" to move Mickis.

I liked the Colborne acquisition and I'm hoping he becomes something for the team, but aside from his size, there's no reason currently to believe Colborne will be better the Backlund. His possession rates this year are worse (even though he starts way more often in the offensive zone), his even strength shot rate is worse and he has just as many points in the same number of games as Backlund. It might be tempting to give Colborne the benefit of the doubt given his age, but the fact is he's just 10 months younger than Mikael, but has played about 160 less NHL games.

It's possible Colborne will become a useful NHLer, but it's also possible he's a replacement level plug. If any center on this club should be getting the ambivalent "up-and-down the line-up treatment" it's Joe Colborne, not Backlund - the former hasn't proven anything at this level yet and doesn't have any compelling results under his belt as a Flame, be it conventional stats or "advanced" metrics.

- Related: one of the many reasons I am against the frequent deployment of enforcers is their presence neuters an entire forward unit each night. Or, to put it another way, if the club had two functional bottom six combinations, it's doubtful anyone would talk about having to choose Colborne over Backlund or vice versa.

Because a line featuring a tough guy can only see 5-7 minutes of ice time per night (and usually they are very unproductive minutes, because it is essentially like skating short-handed), everyone else on that trio is rendered ineffective. For example, in an alternate universe, the Flames could skate these two units:

  • Bouma - Backlund - D. Jones
  • Galiardi - Colborne - B. Jones

Or some mix of players therein. Instead, the team chooses to go with a functional third line and then a usless fourth unit because the two other guys have to carry around Brian McGrattan. An enforcer-less bottom-six would mitigate any questions about keeping Backlund or playing him versus Colborne because each guy would still have a fighting chance to be useful in this configuration no matter how you jumbled things.

Instead, the club is may trade Backlund for a nominal return essentially so they can gamble on Joe Colborne and play McGrattan every game.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
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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#51 J.P.
November 25 2013, 02:14PM
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Personally I would choose not to trade Backlund. However if they do, maybe a good target would be Ryan Ellis from Nashville (who is also getting limited minutes). Burke does have history with Nashville in picking up Franson.

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#52 RexLibris
November 25 2013, 04:19PM
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To Kurt, Burnward and Colin S.

Sorry to step in, but with regards to the Oilers rebuild, their depth drafting, and the Hawks' way of doing thing...

The Oilers haven't rushed their 1st overall picks into the league, virtually all player taken there play in the league in their first year. That they haven't had players taken in the later rounds play regularly in the NHL yet isn't a damning stat...yet. Prospects take time to develop and the Oilers didn't find a Ryan O'Reilly in the 2nd round. Some are tracking well, others aren't, that is pretty much par for the course. If some don't begin to break through next season, though, then this criticism becomes more appropriate.

The Oilers have drafted well in depth rounds with players like Jeff Petry, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, and a few others. So their history isn't entirely devoid of talent. They and the Flames are fairly similar in this regard. What has sunk the Flames is that they couldn't find a player in the first round if they had a map and a tour guide.

As for the Hawks, they had Seabrook and Keith in their system developing from earlier drafts, then stunk and got Toews and won the draft lottery the next year to get Kane. They traded for Sharp (Matt Ellinson and a 3rd round pick) and moved Brandon Bochenski for Kris Versteeg. Hossa was offered a gajillion dollars and they got Khabibulin as a free agent. The Hawks built up a solid base gradually that came together exactly when they added the high-end talent to complete the picture.

You can't plan what they did, it just worked out. The Oilers didn't plan to draft 1st overall three years in a row. Tambellini was just that bad at managing a hockey club - notice how his name NEVER comes up in potential GM discussions.

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#53 MonsterPod
November 26 2013, 05:57PM
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Kent, you're awesome. Thank you for all that you do. That said, you need to proof read your articles or have a minion do it for you.

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#54 KetchupKid
November 25 2013, 10:41AM
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Dr. Philosophy wrote:

First paragraph moves from shopping him to getting pennies on the dollar.

Yeah, we really need an argument for why we shouldn't make a trade for pennies on the dollar.

The transition between shopping him and pennies on the the dollar is that Backlund doesn't do the "spectacular stuff," but that what he's good at wins hockey games and is under valued. You imply there's a non sequitur but there isn't.

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#55 RossCreekNation
November 25 2013, 10:46AM
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I'll be more surprised if Stajan & Stempniak aren't re-signed than if they are. You need to have some vets on the team, and as I said - the Flames are gonna NEED to spend some money just to reach the floor.I think they'll move Cammalleri, Backlund & Butler. And I'd bet Stajan AND Stempniak both get something like $10-11M over 3 years with Limited NTC's.

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#56 piscera.infada
November 25 2013, 11:17AM
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Kurt wrote:

Rex - I agree with you about trading Backs being a misuse of assets and risky to hope that some AHLer fills his shoes. Sounds exactly like what the Oilers have been doing for 5 years.

BUT - my the question ties back to an issue I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. The whole timing thing... I think we can agree the Oilers screwed up by having too many young skill prospects at the same time without a supporting cast of vets. But how does a team manage that, so that when Sven/Monahan & this years 1st overall (fingers crossed) all start to enter their prime.

I guess, my point is... It makes sense to keep Backs around, because one day we will need him. But my gut tells me we aren't going to be competitive for 4 years. Playoffs 2017. Is that reasonable? So given those timelines how do you handle a Backlund type?? Is he worth keeping around for the development phase? Or is he just the guy we need back in 2017?? Or is that what the Oilers tried to do... Wait until they need a Backlund type and then get them (easier said than done)....

I just can't wrap my mind around how all this timing needs to work.... Because its easy to say we need a 3rd line C line Backs one day. But when is that one day. And will he still be relevant at that point?

I fully agree with you on all points. The timing thing is precisely why you can't be absolutist about anything this early into the rebuild - it's all return based.

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#57 Colin.S
November 25 2013, 01:38PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

I'll be more surprised if Stajan & Stempniak aren't re-signed than if they are. You need to have some vets on the team, and as I said - the Flames are gonna NEED to spend some money just to reach the floor.I think they'll move Cammalleri, Backlund & Butler. And I'd bet Stajan AND Stempniak both get something like $10-11M over 3 years with Limited NTC's.

That's assuming both players actually want to stay here, IMO, to keep them here you are looking at deals very similar to what Huddler got. 4 years with cap hits in the 3.5M - 4M range, if not higher. The teams done nothing but go downhill the last few years, as well Stajan has been a giant whipping boy as well, I just don't see his appetite in staying here unless he's grossly overpaid.

As well looking down capgeeks list of UFA cetners: http://capgeek.com/free-agents/?year_id=2014&team_id=-1&position_id=C&fa_type_id=2 He's in the top 10 of UFA centers this offseason, he surely knows that to.

I see Stajan and Stempniak as good as gone this offseason. I see a realistic opportunity to keep Camm around before those two.

I still say the best REBUILD option is to keep Backlund around and trade Stajan+Stempniak at the deadline, you'll get a hell of a lot better return for either one of them than you will Backlund.

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#58 SmellOfVictory
November 25 2013, 02:22PM
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@piscera.infada

I'm not getting bent out of shape; I'm just saying it's probably a bad idea. It's highly unlikely that the return they would get for Backlund is as valuable to the team as Backlund generally is (when he's not relegated to 8 min/night on the 4th line).

If they do get a good value return for him, then great. Although I'll be a bit choked that one of my favourite Flames is gone.

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#59 T&A4Flames
November 25 2013, 02:35PM
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Kurt wrote:

Interesting you bring up the Panthers. Dale Talon came into FLA after the team had acquired a few top picks. He blew his wad a few summers ago to dramatically speed up the rebuild. They had 30 mil in cap space & a few top 5 picks. They spent like drunk sailors on UFAs to speed things up.

Now they are talking about selling off EVERYTHING that isn't bolted down about starting over.

They are basically the 100% opposite of what the Oilers have done. The Oilers committed 100% to a nuclear rebuild with the goal of building a powerhouse, not just quickly getting back to fighting for 8th. They have been stubborn to a fault, and not moved any asset or draft pick. They suck this year because they refuse to do anything to address needs now at the expense of the future.

Personally I think they went TOO far, but I'd lean way more to Oilers style. I think with competent management, the core the Oilers have put together SHOULD be a powerhouse within 24 months. Lucky for us, they have a bunch of shmucks ruining it all.

But FLA & EDM are not comparable examples of rebuild failures. Same results, but dramatically different.

FLA went bonkers on free agency because they had to get above the cap floor. Adding some vets wasn't a terrible idea anyway since they really needed some players to mentor their numerous kids. Now some of those kids are showing well and they need to make room as well as keep their cap down to their internal budget.

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#60 piscera.infada
November 25 2013, 02:37PM
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@SmellOfVictory

If they do get a good value return for him, then great. Although I'll be a bit choked that one of my favourite Flames is gone.

For sure, I'll be hitting the Martell hard if that day comes.

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#61 RexLibris
November 25 2013, 04:25PM
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Kurt wrote:

Rex - I agree with you about trading Backs being a misuse of assets and risky to hope that some AHLer fills his shoes. Sounds exactly like what the Oilers have been doing for 5 years.

BUT - my the question ties back to an issue I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. The whole timing thing... I think we can agree the Oilers screwed up by having too many young skill prospects at the same time without a supporting cast of vets. But how does a team manage that, so that when Sven/Monahan & this years 1st overall (fingers crossed) all start to enter their prime.

I guess, my point is... It makes sense to keep Backs around, because one day we will need him. But my gut tells me we aren't going to be competitive for 4 years. Playoffs 2017. Is that reasonable? So given those timelines how do you handle a Backlund type?? Is he worth keeping around for the development phase? Or is he just the guy we need back in 2017?? Or is that what the Oilers tried to do... Wait until they need a Backlund type and then get them (easier said than done)....

I just can't wrap my mind around how all this timing needs to work.... Because its easy to say we need a 3rd line C line Backs one day. But when is that one day. And will he still be relevant at that point?

The timing is tough. You can't plan that, but the best you can do is put value on those around you and sign them to long term deals, even if it is an overpay at the time.

Backlund at around $3 million for five years would've been a good deal because by year 4 the cap is probably high enough that it meshes with his point production and his presence then becomes valuable.

The Oilers get ripped for sending off all their veterans, yet they have hung on to Ales Hemsky, albeit sometimes in spite of themselves, for years because they feel he has more value on the roster than what was offered in exchange.

Identify the core, place a relative value on each, and then move forward. Backlund, Brodie, Baertschi and Monahan are the NHL building blocks for the Flames. Aside from Monahan, nobody is untouchable, but they ought to rank higher than the remainder of the roster.

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#62 BJ
November 25 2013, 05:57PM
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Tough situation with so many Prospects at center... and so many middle tier centers in the org.

I would bet that he doesnt get moved due to a lack of a return.

Im thinking Feaster is just fishing... that is if there is any truth to this rumour which I am also skeptical of.

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#63 Baazlamon
November 25 2013, 06:01PM
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@RexLibris

"They traded for Sharp (Matt Ellinson and a 3rd round pick)"

That's um... wow. I uh... wow.

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#64 Nick24
November 25 2013, 10:42AM
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Colin.S wrote:

Oh Kent you've done it now, suggesting that MacGratton be sat, but then who will angrily stare at our opponents and put some fear into them that stops them from taking cheap shots at our actual good players???

I hope that this question is meant to be a joke, but in the case its not... Lance Bouma is not a bad fighter, and he can play an actual NHL shift too.

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#65 piscera.infada
November 25 2013, 11:13AM
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Johnny Be Gaudreau wrote:

I personally would be fine with them letting go of Stajan. It's like this post is all about. The reason they're looking to maybe move Backlund is because they have too many same depth Centres in the system. But if that's the case why not get rid of the guy whose pushing 30 and keep the guy whose 25.. and if anyone thinks Stajan is an important part of the leadership of this team what does he do on the ice that helps us that Backlund can't provide? I understand his off ice demeanour and that's all fine. But this is the business of hockey not the business of an NPO that does charity work. Although I sometimes think the hockey decisions of this team are driven by their office business, which really pisses me off.

I'd keep stempniak and hudler around with GIo and Wideman.

I'd let Cammy, Glencross (if he choses to) and Stajan go.

The weird thing about Stajan/Backlund this season is that I would have agreed with you last year. This year though, Stajan has been out Backlund-ing Backlund.

I like keeping Stemps, Wideman, Gio (obviously. Stajan, is a toss up - he could be worth something if the time and buyer are right. Between Stajan/Backlund I'd rather keep Backlund, yet it depends on return.

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#66 thymebalm
November 25 2013, 11:41AM
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I wish we had an effective fourth line... but hey, Jackman is gone, so that's a start.

I was sad when I heard that the Flames want to bring up McDermid to patrol the fourth line at the NHL level. Ward was interviewed about him and said just as much "They intend to play him at the NHL level so our job is to get him up to speed on the systems here and get him some ice before he goes up.." (not exact quote, but that's the vibe.

This means you can only count on a 1/3 ineffective fourth line for a bit, before McDermid makes it 2/3 again.

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#67 the-wolf
November 25 2013, 11:42AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

The 'compelling results' claim wasn't made by me. It was simply posited that Backlund does have compelling results. I'm asking what those are.

While I agree with you, he does have more value playing for the team then he does in a one-off trade. But it seems to me the absolutism is only warranted if the line from management was "we're trading Backlund for whatever we can get - regardless of return, it's happening". I Haven't heard that, so to assume that he's going to be traded for nothing is capricious.

I don't have a four year timeline - I for one, don't think a hard timeline on a rebuild does anything positive at all for anyone. I'm just saying you have to be open when teams are kicking tires. Again, I don't want to trade Backlund - I want everyone to sit down to a nice Christmas dinner, and their kids can be lifelong friends so they all grow old together thusly being buried beside each other along the Bow River.

Seriously though, I actually really don't think we're that far off in opinion. I just don't see it as definitively horrible asset management until I can see the return.

"The 'compelling results' claim wasn't made by me. It was simply posited that Backlund does have compelling results. I'm asking what those are."

I realize that wasn't you and was agreeing with you that he doesn't per se, but.......

Agree about a hard time line, just trying to point out that Backlund is of that age group where he'll still be highly useful at the end of it. Feaster was just saying again the other week about how the team lacks guys in that age range which makes the whole rumor a little strange from that POV.

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#68 T&A4Flames
November 25 2013, 04:48PM
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RexLibris wrote:

To Kurt, Burnward and Colin S.

Sorry to step in, but with regards to the Oilers rebuild, their depth drafting, and the Hawks' way of doing thing...

The Oilers haven't rushed their 1st overall picks into the league, virtually all player taken there play in the league in their first year. That they haven't had players taken in the later rounds play regularly in the NHL yet isn't a damning stat...yet. Prospects take time to develop and the Oilers didn't find a Ryan O'Reilly in the 2nd round. Some are tracking well, others aren't, that is pretty much par for the course. If some don't begin to break through next season, though, then this criticism becomes more appropriate.

The Oilers have drafted well in depth rounds with players like Jeff Petry, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, and a few others. So their history isn't entirely devoid of talent. They and the Flames are fairly similar in this regard. What has sunk the Flames is that they couldn't find a player in the first round if they had a map and a tour guide.

As for the Hawks, they had Seabrook and Keith in their system developing from earlier drafts, then stunk and got Toews and won the draft lottery the next year to get Kane. They traded for Sharp (Matt Ellinson and a 3rd round pick) and moved Brandon Bochenski for Kris Versteeg. Hossa was offered a gajillion dollars and they got Khabibulin as a free agent. The Hawks built up a solid base gradually that came together exactly when they added the high-end talent to complete the picture.

You can't plan what they did, it just worked out. The Oilers didn't plan to draft 1st overall three years in a row. Tambellini was just that bad at managing a hockey club - notice how his name NEVER comes up in potential GM discussions.

A couple of things Rex: 1. Sure, by draft pedigree it cojld be argued those players weren't rushed into the league. However, it could easily be argued that the expectation put on those players was rushed. Hall was put immediatly into the top line without a lot of support. Same with Ebs, and RNH. To much expectation too soon.

As for Flames drafting, I'm pretty sure both franchises went through a similar period where their 1st rnd drafting was futile. It appearz that both have improved recently. In EDM case I would hope so being as they have had 3 1sts overalls and top 7 picks in 6 of 7 yrs.

As for Hemmer, as you said, he's been kept around because nobody believes he's worth enough to entice EDM to trade him. I have little doubt if a decent offer was there, he would have been moved a long time ago and added to the disbanded vet pile.

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#69 RexLibris
November 25 2013, 05:23PM
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@T&A4Flames

Fair points, however with regards to your first, couldn't one argue that if the Oilers had actually had a decent 1st line player who could support a rookie like Hall, Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins, then they wouldn't have found themselves drafting 1st overall in the first place?

The best they could do was have Horcoff mentor them on professionalism and off-ice behaviour.

When I looked at the Flames and Oilers drafting back in the spring/summer, what stood out was that both could find role players. For every Rico Fata there is a Jani Rita, a Greg Nemisz and a Jesse Niinimaki, and so on.

The Oilers and Flames may find themselves both on the phone to the Penguins this trade deadline with scoring wingers on offer (Hemsky and Cammalleri). Could be interesting times ahead.

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#70 44stampede
November 25 2013, 07:44PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Look, if you and anyone else want to get bent out of shape that trades are being discussed, then do it. I'm just trying to add some sober thought to the hysterical masses who are lining up to jump off the Calgary tower because the Flames are taking some calls on the guy.

Where I differ from most of the people espousing the "worst idea ever" argument, is that I don't believe that the Flames are dumb enough to trade Backlund unless the return is going to be more than decent (whether that's a pipe-dream or not). There's no issue in taking calls - absolutely none. If you're assuming they're going to trade Backlund for a bag of pucks and large double-double because that fits your expectation that management is incompetent, then that's your prerogative - and unfortunately for you, this isn't the first time you'll be driven to hemorrhoids by the rebuild.

This is a huge assumption. I would bet a lot that Backlund is not worth a 1st rounder by most GM standards and a second or third is not worth it. Any current player you trade him for is not likely to have the same 2 way skills.

I hope you are right but I just don't see equal or better value happening. 95% sure that if we trade him right now, we lose the trade.

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#71 44stampede
November 26 2013, 03:35AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

On the other hand, Paul Gaustad (along with a 4th) fetched a 1st rounder. Do we ever really know what GMs will pay for anything?

I hear you and don't think a good return is impossible but I have serious doubts. Wasn't that example of Gaustad at the deadline? In general, IIRC, teams will pay more at that time though I could be wrong.

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#72 RKD
November 26 2013, 11:51PM
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Dreger says Carolina has made an offer on Backlund but there's not a fit yet. The Flames would be looking to add a player back of a similar age who's comparable.

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#73 the-wolf
November 25 2013, 11:22AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I fully agree with you on all points. The timing thing is precisely why you can't be absolutist about anything this early into the rebuild - it's all return based.

See, and I say, using your 4 year time line, that it makes perfect sense to keep him. By then he's 29 or 30 and is contuing to be a possession juggernaut for a few playoff runs. That's perfect.

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#74 Jay
November 25 2013, 12:13PM
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Any chance Backs is requesting to be traded (like Cody Hodgson) because of contract bad blood and the way he had been deployed over the years. Why else would Feaster "actively" shopping him.

problem is, instead of pump and dump like the canucks did, we are not going to get anywhere close to full value for him.

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#75 ?
November 25 2013, 12:53PM
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Colin.S wrote:

We are pretty well garaunteed to be in the mix for that kid. Nothing I have seen this year leads me to believe that we will be significantly better next year. Especially without replacements for Stempniak, Stajan, Camm at the ready. And Stajan isn't coming back next year. It's going to be Monahan, Colborne, Granlund and Knight as our centers.

Not to mention the fact that many commenters here on FN don't want the Flames to have a "losing attitude" like the Oilers, cause it's obviously toxic to a rebuild. If you trade Backlund right now and bring up Granlund, who may or may not be ready (this is his first year playing in NA), and eventually deal Stajan for picks/prospects, the team is gonna be VERY green down the middle.

Monahan

Colboure

Jones

Granlund/Knight

That's the setup, unless I'm mistaken. You might get a center prospect for Stajan/Cammaleri/Backlund, etc, or the Flames may move a more experienced guy like Hudler to the middle, but if they don't...

Very young at center, all kids forced into roles that you DO NOT 100% KNOW that they are ready for... Sounds like CGY could lose alot of games for the rest of the year and next year, which may = a losing attitude

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#76 Kurt
November 25 2013, 01:51PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Trading Backlund is likely a mistake because players of his type tend not to be considered particularly valuable on the trade market, but are very valuable to team success. The trade market tends to value scoring, physicality, and other things that look impressive and Backlund doesn't really have in spades.

His compelling results are simply that he is actually a high-functioning support player on a team that doesn't exactly have a glut of them.

Remember when you were debating me about Backlund being better than Nugent-Hopkins back in the spring.

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#77 SmellOfVictory
November 25 2013, 02:17PM
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Kurt wrote:

Remember when you were debating me about Backlund being better than Nugent-Hopkins back in the spring.

He was more effective than Nugent-Hopkins at even strength in the spring. I haven't watched RNH this season, though.

I've never had delusions of Backlund being a top line offensive centre, but the fact of the matter is that he had five years' development on a kid who was barely a year removed from his draft.

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#78 EugeneV
November 25 2013, 02:36PM
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J.P. wrote:

Personally I would choose not to trade Backlund. However if they do, maybe a good target would be Ryan Ellis from Nashville (who is also getting limited minutes). Burke does have history with Nashville in picking up Franson.

We would have to add something for this to happen, but I like the idea.

I could see Ellis on our RW with his offensive talent.

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#79 ?
November 25 2013, 02:37PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Look, if you and anyone else want to get bent out of shape that trades are being discussed, then do it. I'm just trying to add some sober thought to the hysterical masses who are lining up to jump off the Calgary tower because the Flames are taking some calls on the guy.

Where I differ from most of the people espousing the "worst idea ever" argument, is that I don't believe that the Flames are dumb enough to trade Backlund unless the return is going to be more than decent (whether that's a pipe-dream or not). There's no issue in taking calls - absolutely none. If you're assuming they're going to trade Backlund for a bag of pucks and large double-double because that fits your expectation that management is incompetent, then that's your prerogative - and unfortunately for you, this isn't the first time you'll be driven to hemorrhoids by the rebuild.

I don't think anyone's getting bent out oh shape. Listen to offers, sure, but ghe Flames r dealing from a position of weakness, as Backlund isn't a sell high asset right now.

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#80 legnav
November 27 2013, 08:21AM
Trash it!
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TRAV wrote:

I'm in the camp of let's not trade him unless it's a good trade. I have said a few times that I'm open to trading anyone on the team for the right return.. (I also would agree that it might be difficult to get a good return for Backlund based on his stats and use)

If Backlund were traded though think about the decrease of comments and content on the site. Sometimes it's interesting to me how much attention our 3rd/4th line centre gets. (not a criticism just an observation)

In an ideal world our third line centre drives both possession and is able to score.

Lastly I agree with most who are suggesting that we dress a hard working skilled 4th line. I'd keep Gratz on the team for use against some of the other knucklehead clubs but I would dress him rarely. I bet he's on pace for career appearances in a year. (makes little sense)

agree. Alternatively why not have Gratz go to the front of the net and cause havoc with the opposition d'men. We would be better served than him trying to keep up with the other linemates. He should head straight to the blue paint and stir the pot.

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