Pondering Extensions for Brodie & Backlund

Ryan Pike
July 23 2014 12:45PM

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving checked off another thing from his to-do list yesterday, inking restricted free agent Joe Colborne to a two-year deal. That leaves RFAs Lance Bouma, Mark Cundari and Joni Ortio left to sign. (And an extension for Curtis Glencross, which can probably wait.)

(For the record, I betcha Bouma gets somewhere closer to $1.5 million when he re-signs.)

But once those things are handled, the next priority for Treliving is likely extensions for two of the team's best players: Mikael Backlund and T.J. Brodie.

MIKAEL BACKLUND

Backlund will be 26 when his deal expires, but by virtue of his age and by only playing six contracted pro seasons, he'll be an restricted free agent. The new deal will be Backlund's final contract before entering his UFA years.

Backlund's been Calgary's best possession player for basically the past five seasons, even when he was a depth guy trying to break into the league full-time. He showed flashes of offensive greatness here and there, but it wasn't until last year he really "woke up" offensively. During the lock-out year, he played with his hometown team in Vasteras and quickly emerged as one of the top players in Sweden's Allsvenskan league (secondary below the SHL), even when playing against such exiled NHLers as Anze Kopitar. That confidence carried over to the last year and a half of hockey he played.

Season
GP
CF%
S/G
P/G
2009-10
23
56.9%
2.04
0.43
2010-11
73
56.8%
1.97
0.34
2011-12
41
50.7%
2.07
0.27
2012-13
32
51.0%
2.75
0.50
2013-14
76
51.9%
2.34
0.51

As you can see, Backlund's last two years have been pretty consistent all-around, and he's probably a 50-point player if he shoots a bit more. Because of his two-way prowess and his subsequent deployments by recent Flames coaches, he'll likely be a 40+ point player for awhile, but he'll have no shortage of situational ice-time - especially as guys like Monahan and Bennett mature into NHLers.

In terms of a deal, Brad Marchand (a 50-ish point scorer) makes $4.5 million in Boston and Bryan Bickell (who scores less than Backlund) makes $4 million in Chicago. On the open market, Backlund probably fetches around $4.25 million, maybe a bit more. I imagine he'll be offered something in that neighbourhood by the Flames, as well.

T.J. BRODIE

Brodie will be 25 when his deal expires. With five seasons under his belt, he, too, will be a restricted free agent. Depending on term, most likely this will be Brodie's last deal before becoming a UFA.

Like Backlund, Brodie's progressed really well over the past few seasons. In 2010-11, he played three games out of training camp and looked like a 20-year-old kid trying to play NHL defense. So he went to the farm, worked his backside off and has gradually (a) played more and more games in the NHL, (b) played more and more key minutes in the NHL, and (c) played well enough that he's become arguably Calgary's best defender. He's still prone to occasional gaffes and lapses, but he's probably a better skater than Mark Giordano and has a better first pass - Brodie's outlet passes from the blueline have created more break-away scoring chances for his teammates than the other Calgary players combined.

Season
GP
CF%
S/G
P/G
2010-11
3
52.8%
0.33
0.00
2011-12
54
51.6%
0.81
0.26
2012-13
47
50.4%
0.94
0.30
2013-14
81
51.5%
1.28
0.38

Like Backlund, Brodie is one of the most consistently strong possession players on one of hockey's consistently worst possession teams. Now, while Backlund seems to have settled into a "type" of player, if you look at Brodie, his numbers keep progressing. I imagine the Flames will want to tie him up in a long-term deal, because he is really good. His representatives might argue for a shorter deal to hedge their bets about his continued progression.

Dennis Seidenberg is making $4 million for Boston. Niklas Hjalmarsson is making $4.1 million for Chicago. Ryan McDonagh makes $4.7 million for the Rangers, but scores a bit more than Brodie. Mark Giordano is making $4.02 million for the Flames. I foresee Brodie getting more than Giordano on any deal. Maybe something in the realm of $4.3 or $4.4 million will be warranted.

SUM IT UP

Of course, these estimations for deals could fall out of the window if either player goes nuts this season and blows their prior numbers out of the water. That's why it probably would be a good move for the Flames to get a jump on these extensions. It might not matter right now, as the NHL's fourth-worst club probably shouldn't be too worried about spending efficiently. But in a few years, they hope to be a good team, and good teams spend money intelligently.

Signing Backlund and Brodie to deals right away with an eye towards the team's future salary structure would be a very smart thing to do.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 A rye morning
July 23 2014, 01:06PM
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I like the dollar figures you are throwing out there for both players. They reflect the value that both players have out on the ice. For the term of the contracts I think Backlund gets four years and I would like to see Brodie signed for six years. Resigning these to players this offseason should be top priority along with the rfa signings of Bouma, Ortio and Cundari.

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#2 Jeff Lebowski
July 23 2014, 01:09PM
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I think both guys can see the opportunity they have here (more so Brodie with the defense depth vs Backlund and centre depth - to date, things can change!).

I think Brodie gets a longer deal but not by much. 6 yrs for Brodes and 5 for Backs (5/4?). Hopefully it's longer for both.

I'm certain that this upcoming season is pivotal for both. This is their leave no doubt year as to their prominence in the league (let alone team). Not as though people don't already realize but there are still some who doubt how good they both truly are.

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#3 A rye morning
July 23 2014, 01:13PM
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On a completely unrelated note, now that the Avs have ponied up the big bucks(reportedly 12 million over two years) they have just over 2.8 million in cap space left with which to resign Tyson Barrie. Is there a trade to be made and what would it cost the Flames? Does Sven, Russell (with a million retained), Cundari, 2015 3rd rounder and 2016 2nd rounder get us there. Colorado would have to send back a couple of scrap players as they have 49 contracts already.

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#4 Derzie
July 23 2014, 01:15PM
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Are you comparables for Brodie appropriate? Do they have similar stats? If so that's incredible but seems a stretch on the surface. I was thinking in the 3 to 3.5 range. He is a top pair player on a bottom feeding team.

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#5 suba steve
July 23 2014, 01:36PM
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@Derzie

Roman Josi (Nashville) was a comparable last summer, he signed last off-season, and has a $4million/yr long term deal. I personally think they are looking at something in the $4.5-5mil/yr range over an extended deal.

Money well spent, though I wish they had done what the Preds did last summer with Josi.

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#6 Parallex
July 23 2014, 01:41PM
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Yes. Let's get these done I want both these guys locked up longterm before the season starts.

They're core pieces going forward that we can lock-up now on a pre-UFA longterm discount deals (vs. open market prices) and make it easier on ourselves in a few years when Monahan/Gaudreau/Bennett/2015 1st start getting paid the big bucks.

I'd probably try for 27M over 6 for Brodie and 17.5M over 5 for Backs (and give him Cammy's "A").

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#7 redhot1
July 23 2014, 01:50PM
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I could see Brodie getting a contract similar to Justin Faulk, as they are pretty similar players. 6 years 29 mil, which would be fair value in my opinion.

As for Backlund, while he is important, he doesn't put up enough points to warrant decent money (which is a good thing). I would give him as you said, 4.25 for million for 4 or 5 years.

It's important to sign long term deals, because as the cap goes up, deals like these will be bargains, especially for Brodie. If Brodie was a UFA, I could see a few teams offering him just north of 6 million.

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#8 Kent Wilson
July 23 2014, 02:17PM
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@Derzie

Brodie's stats from last year are better than most of the comparables Ryan mentions. While playing on a worse team.

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#9 piscera.infada
July 23 2014, 02:46PM
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Derzie wrote:

Are you comparables for Brodie appropriate? Do they have similar stats? If so that's incredible but seems a stretch on the surface. I was thinking in the 3 to 3.5 range. He is a top pair player on a bottom feeding team.

Further to Kent's comment above: check this out. McDonagh's counting stats are much better, but his zone-starts were easier. I would wager that if Brodie consistently played with Richards, Nash, St. Louis, etc. his counting number would be much better.

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#10 piscera.infada
July 23 2014, 02:49PM
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For further reference, this is how Brodie stacks up to the elites.

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#11 Monaertchi
July 23 2014, 02:54PM
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So I just did a fun comparison of 10 D-men at Extraskater.com.

TJ faced tougher zone starts than Gio, Weber, Chara, Subban, Vlasic, Karlsson, Keith, and Seabrook. Phaneuf had it worse.

TJ faced tougher competition than Subban, Vlasic, Karlsson, Keith, and Seabrook.

TJ had roughly the same ice time as all those guys, except Vlasic who had less.

TJ had better CF% Rel than everyone except Gio, and better CF% than Subban, Weber, and Phaneuf.

With 31 points, TJ matched Phaneuf and beat out Vlasic. The next closest was Chara with 40. Karlsson led the pack with 74.

So, I think he should soon be getting at least Phaneuf money @ $7MM/year. Definitely more than Vlasic @ $4.25MM/year.

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#12 Monaertchi
July 23 2014, 02:56PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

For further reference, this is how Brodie stacks up to the elites.

Damn!

So all I had to do was paste the link.

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#13 Kent Wilson
July 23 2014, 03:07PM
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Also, Tj Brodie had a positive penalty differential. That's incredibly rare for first pairing defenders.

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#14 Bezer
July 23 2014, 03:08PM
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I am perfectly fine with the dollar figures that Ryan has estimated. The only issue I have is please say no to NTC's for both these guys for any deals over 4 years even if you have to pay more AAV.

I really like both players (especially Backlund)but I want the Flames to keep their options open. Players can regress or maybe they have topped out, which isn't too horrible at all.

Or when/if we become competitive in the next few years we need to trade one of these guys for the piece that gets up over the hump to win a cup. I know I would trade any player on this team in a heartbeat to get a cup. I know it's a pretty big "what if" situation but it sure would be nice to have the option and not be handcuffed.

Both these guys are good possession players and they remind me of the type of players that the Red Wings had when they a tonne of success. And I wouldn't mind if they both retired Flames but I am hopeful the Flames brass pays the players fairly but keeps control of the destiny of the team.

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#15 Mort
July 23 2014, 03:44PM
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The thing I like about Backlund is, he's got the sort of talent that isn't immediately recognizable. He's not well-known outside of the Flames fanbase, and I don't think he'll ever score enough to gain much fame.

This is what any smart GM should love in a player. They're good -- even great -- at what they do, but their game is under-appreciated by everyone else, so most of the time, any contract they sign will be great value.

Not to say that expensive, big-scoring forwards have no place on any teams. Of course they do, but they need to be surrounded by the Backlunds of this world (i.e. undervalued players who can drive possession and generate chances) if the team wants to have success.

I like TJ Brodie a lot too, but the trouble is, it's hard to keep the fact that he's a first pairing defenseman as a secret.

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#16 Baalzamon
July 23 2014, 04:31PM
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I would be pretty stoked if both signed long(ish?) contracts at under 5million. In Brodie's case I'd be surprised, though I suppose you never really know since they got Giordano for 4 per way back when.

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#17 Baalzamon
July 23 2014, 04:34PM
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@Mort

I like TJ Brodie a lot too, but the trouble is, it's hard to keep the fact that he's a first pairing defenseman as a secret.

It's worked so far. Pretty much no one outside Calgary actually realizes how good Brodie/Giordano was last season. And if they do (or if they have an idea anyway), they attribute it almost entirely to Giordano (ignoring the fact that, to be consistent, that belief would require them to also consider Giordano probably the best player in the world last year).

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#18 Loxeus
July 23 2014, 04:45PM
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I expect TJB to make 5 mil per when we do sign him, and I'm happy to see him get it. He deserves every penny.

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#19 coachedpotatoe
July 23 2014, 04:47PM
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Backs for about$4.5 for 5 years first 2 can be limited movement after that he should have little guarantees. TJB will be closer to $5,25 for 7 and again the first can be NMC but then the team needs more control.

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#20 mtgould89
July 23 2014, 05:30PM
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Give Brodie 28.5 over 6 years, for an AAV of 4.75 a year. Give Backs 23 over 5, for 4.6 a year. However, back load the Brodie deal, so it looks like this (numbers represent 6 years of contract): 4, 4, 4.5, 5.5, 6, 6.5. Sounds reasonable. Backs: 4.6, 4.6, 4.6, 4.6, 4.6. Easy.

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#21 RexLibris
July 23 2014, 05:51PM
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Treliving ought to sign both to long-term deals that appear inflated now because the likely increase in cap space could make those salary numbers very palatable in two or three years' time.

For Backlund I would argue something in the range of 4 years at $4.75 million. Today that would seem grossly overrated by some in the league, however by the second year of the contract, when 50-point 2nd line wingers are probably collecting $5 million a year, it would be a terrific deal.

For Brodie, I think you offer him seven years at $5.5 million a year. Again, some outside the Calgary market might suggest that is outlandish, but as Kent is fond of mentioning, Brodie is kind of a good player.

The Flames need to get a top pairing defenseman who has steadily improved in every season and has such terrific underlying numbers locked up to a long-term deal. The cap hit would only become more and more palatable, perhaps even insulting to the player, as the contract wore on.

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#22 redricardo
July 23 2014, 06:00PM
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@ piscera.infada and Monaertchi

Thank you so much for taking the time to do research and get actual numbers and data to back up the conversation.

It's genuine research and educated debate between the commenters like that that brought me to this website in the first place, and something that has been sorely lacking recently.

Awesome.

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#23 Skuehler
July 23 2014, 06:16PM
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Side note...just got my tix for the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton in Sept. $60 tax in for 6 games worth of hockey, watching the future Brodies and Backlunds. They even threw in an extra exhibition game in the package. And the beer is good :)

It's going to be fun to watch Calgary's prospects this year.

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#24 Jeremy
July 23 2014, 06:19PM
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Baalzamon wrote:
I like TJ Brodie a lot too, but the trouble is, it's hard to keep the fact that he's a first pairing defenseman as a secret.

It's worked so far. Pretty much no one outside Calgary actually realizes how good Brodie/Giordano was last season. And if they do (or if they have an idea anyway), they attribute it almost entirely to Giordano (ignoring the fact that, to be consistent, that belief would require them to also consider Giordano probably the best player in the world last year).

The thing is that you can keep it a secret from the Media and fans who listen to the media, but can it be kept secret from people who scout and General Manage teams. I don't think so. Brodie will make 7 million per on his next deal. Backlund probably 5. The Genie is out of the bottle for both of these guys, who are only coming into their prime. They know the cap is going up, and that it will favour them in the long term. Flames fans need to face the future, and that's an expensive one.

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#25 bookofloob
July 23 2014, 07:13PM
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GIVE THEM EVERYTHING

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#26 jeremywilhelm
July 23 2014, 07:30PM
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I just don't think Burke or Treliving are smart enough to lock these two up long term.

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#27 Jeff In Lethbridge
July 23 2014, 08:37PM
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bookofloob wrote:

GIVE THEM EVERYTHING

thats the best answer.

why not go 8 yrs each;

load the contracts with performance bonuses... and a fair base of 35 mil for Backlund and 44 mil for TJ.

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#28 Jeff In Lethbridge
July 23 2014, 08:39PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

I just don't think Burke or Treliving are smart enough to lock these two up long term.

Burke's a lot of things, but dumb isn't one of them.

I respect Burke, even if his type A personality grates on me.

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#29 MontanaMan
July 23 2014, 09:05PM
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Brodie is a defenceman with a lot of skill and promise. I would lock him up for 5 years minimum and don't let it drag out.

Backlund on the other hand is much more of a risk. Interesting times when the general consensus is to give a player $4.5 million a year when he's never scored more than 40 points in an NHL career, doesn't strike any fear in the opposition and is generally considered a decent centre. But I guess that's what you get for nearly $5 million per year.

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#30 ?
July 23 2014, 09:22PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Brodie is a defenceman with a lot of skill and promise. I would lock him up for 5 years minimum and don't let it drag out.

Backlund on the other hand is much more of a risk. Interesting times when the general consensus is to give a player $4.5 million a year when he's never scored more than 40 points in an NHL career, doesn't strike any fear in the opposition and is generally considered a decent centre. But I guess that's what you get for nearly $5 million per year.

True, although Backlund's a lot more than just a 40 point, top 9 forward. An elite possession/ 2 way guy could be critical to the Flames' success in future years. If the Flames lock Backlund up for the next 5 years or so, they could have some incredible depth at centre that would allow for Monahan and Bennett to play against lower tier competition.

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#31 piscera.infada
July 23 2014, 10:09PM
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? wrote:

True, although Backlund's a lot more than just a 40 point, top 9 forward. An elite possession/ 2 way guy could be critical to the Flames' success in future years. If the Flames lock Backlund up for the next 5 years or so, they could have some incredible depth at centre that would allow for Monahan and Bennett to play against lower tier competition.

That's the crux of the argument. If Backlund is shipped out in, say, two years, all of a sudden your centre depth chart is Stajan-Monahan-Bennett-Knight/Arnold/Granlund (in no particular order). Sure, it's incredibly easy to say Monahan and Bennett should be ahead of Backs at that point, but why force the issue?

If Backlund's counting stats do eventually start to creep closer and closer to his underlying numbers (peaking at the typical age of 27), that's going to be an expensive player in 2 or 3 years. It's the pragmatic bet to lock him up long-term so that his cap number isn't as high (relative to when you signed him). That way, if he does, in fact, slide down the depth chart with the development of Monahan and Bennett (in a perfect world), he's either a great value for what he is (in a great hole on the roster), or even better trade fodder. If it doesn't become a "perfect world" ever, or as soon as you'd like, you still have a good player who can slot almost anywhere in the lineup. I don't see much risk.

Long story short, if you're hedging your bets on every single prospect/young player in the Flames system hitting their ceiling in 3-5 years (as to make Backlund not worth 4.5-5 million per) you're more of a cock-eyed optimist than Billy Mumphrey (and we all know that led to his downfall).

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#32 Skuehler
July 23 2014, 11:12PM
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Management doesn't seem to have any real leverage here. It's not like we can afford to lose these two. The team has money. The cap is going up. The Flames need to reach the floor. There are no cheap alternative options. The players have earned it playing with contracts tilted heavily in the team's favour. And both are trending upwards. Why even think of playing hardball with these guys? The only option here seems to be paying them fair market value, and maybe a bit more.

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#33 Jeff In Lethbridge
July 24 2014, 12:09AM
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would these two be eligible for Engelland type money, or is that too much???

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#34 MontanaMan
July 24 2014, 06:45AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

That's the crux of the argument. If Backlund is shipped out in, say, two years, all of a sudden your centre depth chart is Stajan-Monahan-Bennett-Knight/Arnold/Granlund (in no particular order). Sure, it's incredibly easy to say Monahan and Bennett should be ahead of Backs at that point, but why force the issue?

If Backlund's counting stats do eventually start to creep closer and closer to his underlying numbers (peaking at the typical age of 27), that's going to be an expensive player in 2 or 3 years. It's the pragmatic bet to lock him up long-term so that his cap number isn't as high (relative to when you signed him). That way, if he does, in fact, slide down the depth chart with the development of Monahan and Bennett (in a perfect world), he's either a great value for what he is (in a great hole on the roster), or even better trade fodder. If it doesn't become a "perfect world" ever, or as soon as you'd like, you still have a good player who can slot almost anywhere in the lineup. I don't see much risk.

Long story short, if you're hedging your bets on every single prospect/young player in the Flames system hitting their ceiling in 3-5 years (as to make Backlund not worth 4.5-5 million per) you're more of a cock-eyed optimist than Billy Mumphrey (and we all know that led to his downfall).

So Backlund is signed to a long term deal for $5 million per and the last three years of his contract he's a #3 centre making that kind of money? I guess there's no guessing where the cap is headed but $5 million for a #3 centre seems excessive. If that's the plan, sign him to a 3 year deal and allow Monahan, Bennett and the remainder of the young centres to grow.

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#35 MonsterPod
July 24 2014, 07:02AM
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I'm really happy to see Backlund finally rounding into form. I've seen a lot of players improve under Hartley. Even Bouwmeester was playing well for us before we traded him, arguably his best year as a Flame.

I remember year after year watching Backlund, hoping he would emerge, getting some top minutes between Tanguay and Iggy, always showing promise but just not quite pulling it off.

Then he got punched in the chest two years ago by Andrew Alberts and his season was over, which made him look like a soft Swede despite Albert's size and I was bummed.

Early last year he struggled. He was in the dog house with Baertschi before Christmas. But towards the end of the year he finally became something of what we saw in the WJC back in the day. He was a threat with the puck, weaving and pressuring, and yes finally scoring.

This kid could be a 30 goal scorer. But until he is, maybe we shouldn't back up the truck, and I don't think current management is interested in any 7 or 8 year deals right now, even for Gio.

It would be nice if he would take 4M for 5 years, and it would also be nice if he could improve his work in the dot, which is crucial to winning.

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#36 Baalzamon
July 24 2014, 07:45AM
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@MonsterPod

I don't think current management is interested in any 7 or 8 year deals right now, even for Gio.

What do you mean by this? An 8 year deal would take Giordano to age 38. No one wants to sign a player that long.

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#37 piscera.infada
July 24 2014, 07:53AM
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MontanaMan wrote:

So Backlund is signed to a long term deal for $5 million per and the last three years of his contract he's a #3 centre making that kind of money? I guess there's no guessing where the cap is headed but $5 million for a #3 centre seems excessive. If that's the plan, sign him to a 3 year deal and allow Monahan, Bennett and the remainder of the young centres to grow.

I was more in the 4.5 million per range (as the article suggest ~4.25). My general line of thinking is that in 3 years time, he's probably still your #2 centre. I have my doubts that Bennett - with one more year in OHL and two NHL years under his belt - is going to be a bona fide #2 to say nothing of a #1 centre. That's also to say nothing of Monahan becoming a legitimate #1 centre in three years. As you said, let the young centres grow. All you need is Backlund to have an Alex Steen type season (where counting stats align with underlying numbers under the right circumstances), and suddenly he's priced himself right out of your rebuilding team. That would force Monahan and Bennett right in to the fire - assuming their development is not 100% to plan (which, I know is heresy to suggest).

Again, if in 3 or 4 years, everything has worked out perfectly to plan (Monahan, Bennett, whomever are able to exceed his production/responsibilities), Backlund will be hitting his prime years with a manageable cap hit and the ability to play 2nd line minutes on a good team. He would be trade-able.

Where you get into trouble is when you have to compete with his hunger for UFA money. If you need him at that point, you're going to have to shell out a fair bit of dough and term to keep him. That's what ultimately throws a wrench in the plan to keep your young players 2,3,4 years down the road.

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#38 MonsterPod
July 24 2014, 08:06AM
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Baalzamon wrote:
I don't think current management is interested in any 7 or 8 year deals right now, even for Gio.

What do you mean by this? An 8 year deal would take Giordano to age 38. No one wants to sign a player that long.

I mean that if you listen to management this summer, they were willing to pay more for players -- Engelland -- in exchange for a shorter term contract. They don't seem interested, while they are building and evaluating, in giving anyone 7-8 year terms.

I would think this would also apply to Backlund and Brodie because even though they are good, they are not Backstrom and Doughty. I included Gio as an example because he is our captain and our best player at the moment.

No one wants to sign anyone until they're 38? What do you mean by this? Do you mean no one in the Flames organization, or the NHL? Because across the league for the past decade numerous teams have been signing players up to and past their 38th birthday.

If Giordano were a UFA next summer, you don't think there would be any GM in the league willing to give him a 7 year deal and sign him until he's 38? If he plays as well this year as he did last, I would take that bet.

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#39 coachedpotatoe
July 24 2014, 08:13AM
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Both of these players will be part of our veteran leadership core to 2-3 years(27/28 year olds in their prime) when we hope our team will be relevant again and in the hunt. Extend Gio 3 years(he will still be providing stabilitty and leadership), allow the kids to develop, add another top 4 defender, have a goalie claim and own the number 1 spot and we could be back in the hunt.

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#40 Kevin R
July 24 2014, 09:38AM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

thats the best answer.

why not go 8 yrs each;

load the contracts with performance bonuses... and a fair base of 35 mil for Backlund and 44 mil for TJ.

Totally with you. These two are future core. They are both young enough that a 7 year deal is reasonable, gives them security & could get us a slight discount. These guys agents aren't stupid, they know what teams will pay for possession players. No flying under the radars anymore. If they perform pay them & these 2 have been our bight lights during these last 2 awful transition/rebuilding years. 7 year deal should get Backs between 4.0-4.5 mill per year. Will be a steal once we start putting offensively gifted/talented players on his wings. TJ at 7 years for $35- $37 mill will be another steal in the next few years once the cap goes up & deals like what Toews & Kane & what Subban is about to get paid. I think we can all agree that these two can be pencilled in as core players, lock em up boys.

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#41 RKD
July 24 2014, 02:05PM
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It would be a big mistake not to lock up Brodie and Backlund. They have been very good to excellent possession players on a very bad possession team. These two are part of the new core, they are leaders for the younger players. They will be integral for the Flames future success. Brodie has been an absolute stud and I really believe Backlund's offensive numbers have a good chance of going north. Centers are hard to come by, especially ones who can excel at the two-way game. More and more, you need players that can play a two hundred foot game.

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#42 PrairieStew
July 24 2014, 02:24PM
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Lars Eller deal today good comparable for Backlund. 4 years at $3.5 for a guy who was drafted the same year and round - has almost identical counting stats - though ( who knew?) he has played 40 more NHL games.

I'd be in for 5 years at 4.25.

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