Breathe Easy: Flames Sign Backlund

bookofloob
July 10 2013 03:21PM

And there it is.

I'm sure some of you were a scosh concerned that this had not happened yet (Not me though, I was totally confident the whole time and no I can't tell you why I've been sweating profusely during this whole ordeal), but the long wait is finally over: ol' Mikey Backlund is a member of your Calgary Flames for a little while going forward.

The Deal

The deal, well, she's a good one. Backlund locks in with a 2 year deal worth $3 million ($1.5 million AAV), which is, damn.

It's a nice contract for a guy who probably could have commanded more, but takes on a responsible term and dollar value instead, opting to use his bridge contract to earn bigger dollars on his fourth (FOURTH?!?!) contract in 2 years time. You know, the way these things are SUPPOSED to be done.

From one Mr. Jay Feaster, who somehow didn't blow this one (via the Flames Official Site):

 

“Mikael really stepped-up last season and took advantage of the change in direction under a new coaching staff,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “He came into camp in very good shape and also had regained his confidence. He parlayed that into a strong season, and if it wasn’t for his injury we believe he would have progressed even further in his development. We need Mikael to be one of our go-to players this year, and we are excited about watching him continue to evolve and take that step to the next level as a player.”

 

 A nice little added bonus is that Mickis still has a year left before his UFA seasons kick in, so if there happens to be an impasse when this deal expires, the Flames are not in a position to try and trade him or let him walk way for nothing. Hopefully Backlund excels and it never comes to that, but still, it's a good thing. It also blows through Backlund's arbitration rights, so no one has to go through that messy process, and good lord, that's maybe the best part about this whole deal.

The Player

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(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Obviously, this was important for the team. Backlund really grew as a player last season, something we all knew would happen, and he only projects to get better so long as his health holds out, which would be marvelous.

Backs put up 8 and 8 for 16 points last year in 32 games, and is a possession monster. He may or may not be the number 1 center for the team before next season is out, but he'll certainly challenge for it if things go well. Paired with Sven Baertschi, for example, the squad could have a very nice looking young and offensive tandem on what is likely to be an otherwise drab looking club.

This was an important move going forward, and Feaster signed Backlund to a deal that provides remakable value, so let's give Feaster credit where credit is due, this was huge (Did I just say that???)

Now on to signing TJ Brodie. Hopefully the news on that pops out in the next few days. I believe that negotiation process was a touch less quarrelsome, if that's how we want to overexaggerate the description of Backlund's situation.

Also if we could undo the McGrattan signing, that'd be great. GRITCHART be damned.

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The Book of Loob is the Nation's resident expert in flim-flammery and twaddle. An unabashed Flames fan, when BoL is not intellectually bankrupting Flames Nation, he can be seen rooting for Blair Jones, often to excess, at Book of Loob. Follow him on twitter here.
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#1 RexLibris
July 10 2013, 03:26PM
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Great deal for the Flames. Very astute signing, and I'm kind of surprised Backlund went that low for two years.

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#3 SmellOfVictory
July 10 2013, 03:29PM
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Minor correction: his next contract after this will be his 4th contract (last season's was a mini-bridge, if you will, between ELC and this one).

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#5 KetchupKid
July 10 2013, 03:34PM
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1.5?!?!

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#6 Baalzamon
July 10 2013, 03:38PM
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Mickis is really making a habit of being low-balled. The guy is awesome in every way. Except contract negotiations, apparently.

Great to have ya back!!

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#7 SeanCharles
July 10 2013, 03:39PM
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"Also if we could undo the McGrattan signing, that'd be great. GRITCHART be damned."

I like the Mcgrattan signing...He has value beyond goals and assists.

Jackman is the guy that I feel is not needed anymore..

On the Backlund: He will be given a ton of icetime, even on the PP, which will do wonders for his development.

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#8 Mangotanker
July 10 2013, 03:44PM
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Now we know why this deal took so much time. Feaster got a great value contract, but I certainly hope he realizes Backlund is the best natural centreman on this team at the moment.

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#9 What time is it?
July 10 2013, 03:47PM
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Brodie time!!

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#10 negrilcowboy
July 10 2013, 03:49PM
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fair signing for both parties.

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#11 seve927
July 10 2013, 03:52PM
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Mangotanker wrote:

Now we know why this deal took so much time. Feaster got a great value contract, but I certainly hope he realizes Backlund is the best natural centreman on this team at the moment.

Yeah, but we don't really need value for the next two years. It would have been nice to have good value for 6 years, rather than great value for 2. Flexibility this way anyway.

Good to have him signed though. Eventually he'll get paid what he's worth.

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#12 BurningSensation
July 10 2013, 04:37PM
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There are a whole bunch of people who can un-pee their pants today.

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#14 Kent Wilson
July 10 2013, 05:27PM
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Yay!

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#15 Hank williams
July 10 2013, 05:31PM
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Perhaps this is a dumb comment but if you were a Gm would you not rather Backlund at even money to iginla. I do not get how he commanded 6 million for one season. I understand how Backlund is kept at a lower value but honestly I think if there were no such as rfa's and Backlund were free to sign anywhere that he would be paid more than a 36 year old Iginla

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#16 Baalzamon
July 10 2013, 05:37PM
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@Hank williams

Paying for Iginla is like paying for a name brand. You're paying for the name, not the product.

That said, Iginla was on pace for a 60+ point season. Backlund has never approached that kind of production before.

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#17 RKD
July 10 2013, 05:41PM
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This is a great signing, I just hope along with probably everyone else that Backs doesn't get injured and can play a full season.

He put up 16 points in 32 games which if it had been a full 82 game NHL season would project to 41 points or in other words a career high for him.

He's a valuable guy, he may not turn out into the high end guy we all once projected but if he makes his teammates better he will be very helpful in the years to come.

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#18 The Last Big Bear
July 10 2013, 05:43PM
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I would have preferred to give him more money AND term.

Don't hear that very often.

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#19 Hank williams
July 10 2013, 05:43PM
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Agreed. But without getting into all the advanced stats like cross, wish or quality of comp isn't he just faster and better with the puck. For instance like in a minor hockey tryout drill, put them head to head, throw the puck into the corner and see who gets the puck. I bet Backlund beats the 36 year old version of Iginla every time

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#20 T&A4Flames
July 10 2013, 05:48PM
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SeanCharles wrote:

"Also if we could undo the McGrattan signing, that'd be great. GRITCHART be damned."

I like the Mcgrattan signing...He has value beyond goals and assists.

Jackman is the guy that I feel is not needed anymore..

On the Backlund: He will be given a ton of icetime, even on the PP, which will do wonders for his development.

I disagree. Jackman is a better hockey player and can put in a bit more quality minutes without necessarily looking to punch someone in the face.

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#21 Baalzamon
July 10 2013, 06:00PM
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@RexLibris

So Rex, what do you think of MacTavish so far as a GM? I can honestly say from down here in the south that I'm reasonably impressed so far.

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#22 MC Hockey
July 10 2013, 06:24PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

There are a whole bunch of people who can un-pee their pants today.

Sing that to the tune of "Unchain my heart" by Joe Cocker..."Unpee my pants"...fun!

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#23 MC Hockey
July 10 2013, 06:26PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

I disagree. Jackman is a better hockey player and can put in a bit more quality minutes without necessarily looking to punch someone in the face.

I agree Jackman has more "actual hockey skill" but not as much "keep friends protected to play with more jam and confidence" ability.

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#24 SeanCharles
July 10 2013, 06:33PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

I disagree. Jackman is a better hockey player and can put in a bit more quality minutes without necessarily looking to punch someone in the face.

McGrattan is there to respond to team issues that will result in him punching someone in the face.

I think he only looks for a fight when the team has a issue the refs cant remidy or if another fighter is on the ice that talks him into it.

I just think McGrattan brings more to the table than Jackman. Especially since we have Bouma and Knight waiting in the wings for 4th line duty.

Jackman seemed to lose his identity on this team after his first yr here where he scored 10 goals.

Since then his game has lost its effectiveness.

McGrattan can skate and when he has momentum he is a beast and will barrell over anyone in his path.

He is exciting when on the ice...he is like Aliu in his first 2 games where we all fell in love with him...

McGattan seems to have more consistency,in his physical game, than Jackman or Aliu thus better suited..

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#26 SeanCharles
July 10 2013, 06:43PM
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bookofloob wrote:

I honestly don't care at all what people think about Brian McGrattan

Shouldn't of mentioned him in a Backlund article then...haha jk..

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#27 Jeff Lebowski
July 10 2013, 06:50PM
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Hope it's ok to post this here and it's not old news to people but: Flames.com has a new prospects page.

http://flames.nhl.com/club/microhome.htm?location=/futurewatch

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#28 The Last Big Bear
July 10 2013, 06:50PM
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McGrattan, with a single punch, once blasted the Downs Syndrome right out of a 7 year old kid.

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#29 Baalzamon
July 10 2013, 06:55PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

McGrattan, with a single punch, once blasted the Downs Syndrome right out of a 7 year old kid.

I thought Corban Knight did that with his smile..

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#30 Burnward
July 10 2013, 07:06PM
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Awesome deal. Top shelf.

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#31 Burnward
July 10 2013, 07:10PM
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Also hoping that by some miracle there are some crazy arbitration numbers awarded and we can take advantage.

Bailey, Bogosian, Bryan (Little), and Brendan (Smith) can join the young Killa B's maybe?

Just one will do actually.

Let this pass oh, benevolent hockey gods. Let this pass.

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#32 KetchupKid
July 10 2013, 07:42PM
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@bookofloob

Brian McGrattan has nothing but nice things to say about you.

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#34 Baalzamon
July 10 2013, 08:07PM
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@Burnward

Bogosian please.

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#35 chillout
July 10 2013, 08:31PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Paying for Iginla is like paying for a name brand. You're paying for the name, not the product.

That said, Iginla was on pace for a 60+ point season. Backlund has never approached that kind of production before.

Iggy is actually only making 1.8 million this year. the other 4.2 is in performance bonuses.

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#36 RexLibris
July 10 2013, 08:37PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

So Rex, what do you think of MacTavish so far as a GM? I can honestly say from down here in the south that I'm reasonably impressed so far.

He's landed upgrades (relative to what the market held) at nearly every position and moved out what many considered to be an albatross of a contract in Horcoff to replace him with a younger, cheaper Gordon.

That and the saturation of the blueline with pret-a-port players for this coming season, and the willingness to move Paajarvi for a LW upgrade that slots right into the age bracket and is signed to good money and term are all positives.

He has admitted that he isn't certain he'll be able to cover all the bases this one off-season, and his verbal has changed subtly since taking over to reflect that he is learning very quickly on the job.

I think the biggest fear amongst fans in Edmonton was that new management, especially impatient ones, would come in and screw this whole thing up.

The Gagner signing is very interesting and how that plays out and the eventual trade of Hemsky (likely by the end of the month) will go a long way to giving us a grade on his first body of work.

Word is that Gagner wants term, clause and around $5.5 million a year. That obviously isn't all going to happen, but I could see a six year deal with a limited NTC for certain seasons at south of $5 million, maybe $4.75 million. Probably a letter as well.

I'm not suggesting he's worth it, but I think that is where the roulette marble stops.

Interesting note on the Paajarvi deal, MacTavish said that his analytical department loved Perron. We all know the Oilers have them, but that the GM is listening to their input when making a deal is reassuring.

I'll always cheer for Paajarvi (unless he dons the Flaming C, I have standards) but the fact is that the Oilers are a better team now than they were when I woke up this morning. That is worth some credit.

Interesting note: today on his show Lowetide had Noah Love from the Post talking about the Oilers and other NHL teams. His comment about the Flames caught my attention, he said that Feaster did the best job for his team by not doing anything in free agency or by trade. I tend to agree.

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#37 RexLibris
July 10 2013, 08:42PM
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Burnward wrote:

Also hoping that by some miracle there are some crazy arbitration numbers awarded and we can take advantage.

Bailey, Bogosian, Bryan (Little), and Brendan (Smith) can join the young Killa B's maybe?

Just one will do actually.

Let this pass oh, benevolent hockey gods. Let this pass.

Kidney stones or the trade?

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#38 Burnward
July 10 2013, 09:47PM
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@RexLibris

I'll avoid the circus just to be safe.

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#39 Jeff In Lethbridge
July 10 2013, 09:48PM
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chillout wrote:

Iggy is actually only making 1.8 million this year. the other 4.2 is in performance bonuses.

the perfomance bonus is almost entirelynfor games played.... interesting tactic... if they bench him for not back checking. i guess we will see if this happens

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#40 MC Hockey
July 10 2013, 10:29PM
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Still hoping Feaster has the skill and luck to bring a big name such as aforementioned RFAs who may be arbitration-eligible guys like Bogosian whose teams may balk at their awards and/or demands. A good scoring RW, C, or top 4 D-man would be nice. Then again perhaps insurance will not cover ALL the Saddledome repairs and Flames owners on the hook for a few million dollars so Feastter asked to "curb the spending" for a year despite what he says in public. Hey if I incurred flood damage (thankfully did not) and had to pay part of the fix-up costs I am thinking the Hawaii winter vacation would be out the window so it's possible the über wealthy owners want to cut costs too, despite the largesse of their bank accounts.

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#41 T&A4Flames
July 10 2013, 10:33PM
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@SeanCharles

I'm indifferent to the McGratten signing. I've always liked him actually. I agree with the 1st part of your thoughts but not the last.

Jackman was never brought in to score goals. The 10 he scored were a pleasant aberration. Bottom line is, IMO, he has more skill and the ability to protect smaller players when need be.

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#42 SeanCharles
July 10 2013, 11:04PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

I'm indifferent to the McGratten signing. I've always liked him actually. I agree with the 1st part of your thoughts but not the last.

Jackman was never brought in to score goals. The 10 he scored were a pleasant aberration. Bottom line is, IMO, he has more skill and the ability to protect smaller players when need be.

Im not disputing that Jackman likely has more skill.

My point is he seems to have a greater impact on a game than Jackman. He creates momentum in our favor when hes on the ice. His forechecking and hits help tip the scales in out favor, not to mention when he fights..

When he does these things effectively I think it creates more space for his linemates which allows the fourth line to get some chances...

I love it when the fourth line goes out and dominates physically in the offensive zone...It carries over to the rest of the team

Jackman doesnt seem to have that effect anymore..

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#43 subway
July 11 2013, 12:04AM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

I'm indifferent to the McGratten signing. I've always liked him actually. I agree with the 1st part of your thoughts but not the last.

Jackman was never brought in to score goals. The 10 he scored were a pleasant aberration. Bottom line is, IMO, he has more skill and the ability to protect smaller players when need be.

The fact that Jackman has more hockey skill than McGrattan is immaterial because he has such a tiny amount more hockey skill than McGrattan that it's pretty negligible.

Bottom line is McGrattan will be much better at protecting the small and skilled guys because he's a MUCH better fighter than Jackman and therefore a much better deterrant than Jackman can ever be. Even if Jackman is barely more skilled at actually playing the game of hockey.

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#44 Craig
July 11 2013, 05:14AM
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I'm so tired of reading about Mcgratton! he's gonna sit on the bench, he's gonna punch some faces, the fans will love him, he'll dance like a bear.

Insignificant,

Let's keep the talk to something interesting like the development camp that's currently going on, or how awesome Backlund is.

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#45 Tommynotsohuge
July 11 2013, 05:43AM
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This is a Backlund article. The Mcgratton one was last week. Who cares that a fourth liner made near league minimum. Give it up already. Jesus. See post above

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#46 Scary Gary
July 11 2013, 07:23AM
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A four year 2.25 would have been nice but I guess we get to see Backs further develop at minimal expense.

I read sent an offer to Begin...what the?

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#47 Rockmorton65
July 11 2013, 07:23AM
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I have a question. If an team walks away from an arbitration award, that makes the player a UFA. Does the team that signs him have to pay the arbitrators ruling, or can they negotiate "from scratch"?

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#48 T&A4Flames
July 11 2013, 07:49AM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

I have a question. If an team walks away from an arbitration award, that makes the player a UFA. Does the team that signs him have to pay the arbitrators ruling, or can they negotiate "from scratch"?

Asi understand it, a team can sign said player for anything they want.

I seem to recall this happening withClarke MacAurthura few years back. He was awarded a decent salary, his team walked on it and then Toronto signed him for, I believe, less than the arbitrators amount.

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#49 Michael
July 11 2013, 08:23AM
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Seems like a reasonable contract for Backlund, it reflects his current status as a third line center. In Backlund’s case, I like the term, plenty of incentive for him to step up his game and prove that he is worth more. If he can find his scoring touch he would make an effective two way second liner, with a much fatter pay cheque.

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#50 the-wolf
July 11 2013, 08:52AM
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Great contract.

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