Flames Sign Mikael Backlund



The RFA list has been whittled down to one now that Mikael Backlund has been inked by the team. Backlund’s deal is for one year at just $725,000, but is a one-way contract.

There is no way the Flames can lose on that ticket, which is even less than Derek Smith or TJ Brodie will make next season. Even if Backlund continue to fire blanks, he’s an above replacement level player in many other areas and just 23 years old. There’s nothing but upside to his contract.

Which isn’t to say Backlund has been taken off the trade block. The team may still decide to deal Backs and his now very cheap cap hit would make him enticing to potential trade partners. Here’s hoping the club decides to leverage the deal themselves, however.

Up next – Leland Irving.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Good signing. Clearly, everybody would like to see us lock Backlund up for multiple years, but let’s face it, does the organization want to commit to him long-term, clearly they aren’t sure yet. Also, I think Backlund wants to get payed more than 1M$ after next season. It makes sense from both perspectives. Also, I don’t think that the Flames are done making moves this off-season. The NHL roster suddenly seems very cluttered.

  • Vintage Flame

    Great signing for the Flames and Backlund. Calgary is getting a good valued contract and Backs is going to be given the chance he needed and wanted to prove himself.

    I hope the best for the kid. He deserves a little good luck this year.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I too hope for success from Backlund. He needs it and so does the team. If things don’t improve I imagine the team will let him walk next July…unless someone comes a calling for him before then. With any luck things will turn around and he can ask for a better contract a year from now. Overall, fairly low risk for the team.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I disagree with a lot of these lineup posts. I think Backs should get, at worst, a 50/50 ozone split. I’m engaging in the dreaded armchair sports psychologist stuff here, but he does give me the feeling, when I watch him, that he would benefit from confidence-building in the offensive zone. Best way to do that is put him in decent circumstances (not sheltered, per se, but not used as a checking forward like last season).

    Also, dare I say that the Flames’ current lineup may potentially be significantly better than last season’s? Wideman’s a solid addition despite his overblown salary, and at the very least I’d expect Hudler and Cervenka combined to slightly outdo Jokinen (and it’s entirely possible that one or both of them ends up being more effective individually).

    • Vintage Flame

      the problem with that, though, is that maybe the Flames can’t afford to give Backlund offensive starts. Obviously Jones can do defensive starts, but he’s slotted likely as the 4th center. Backlund is perhaps the only hard minutes center in the the top 9, and better he gets defensive starts than Cervenka or Cammalleri.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I think we do have a better line up than last year if we can jettison Babchuk & Stajan. If we fit Stajan into these 4 lines, it puts things out of whack. Stajan is too timid & small to be a 4th line grinder, Jackman, Bouma, Comeau, Jones & Aliu all are physically built for such tour of duties. Cammi should centre Iggy & Tangs. Start them out of the gate & see what happens. Dont expect much initially as we all know how Iggy starts. The real line that can either suck or create some excitement should be Cerevenka,Baerschte & Hudler. Lots of skill there & if they create any chemistry, may be one of the nice surprises of the year for us. Then Backlund, Glencross & Stempniak. I would have prefered Comeau on that line which is why I am baffled by the Stempniak signing. Thing is, guys are going to get hurt, so these combos will change & I think any of our bottom 5 I mentioned can easily step up into 3rd line roles. Any of the 3rd line can be pressed into 2nd line service in a pinch & same as that 2nd line. I just dont see room for Stajan here, I’m sorry but he’s off the Island, maybe send him to the Islanders for a 3rd or 4th rounder. Defense has to start with JBO/Wideman/Gio/Butler/Brodie & Sarich. Babpuke just doesnt fit either, Smith is a great #7 & Wilson can fill in too. Cmon Feaster, get rid of these 2 guys, & lets take 6.0 mill off the cap. We could have signed Carle for what we are wasting $$$ on for these two. I dont care what the return is, surely we can donate them somewhere, somehow.

  • Derzie

    It’s crystal clear that the Flames are not behind Backlund AND he is not very confident. This can be considered embarrassing money for a so called ‘prospect’ in his 3rd year (I’d take it but hey, I’m no prospect. My preferred choice would have been to package him up for picks and let him try his fortunes elsewhere but with a new coach, the year tryout is worth it. If I had my druthers contracts would be 1-3 years max for any player. This would keep everyone at their best and would quickly allow teams to jettison guys that don’t fit.
    Oh and you know the floor is ridiculously high when guys like Stajan are desirable to teams that need to burn cash to get to it. LOWER the FLOOR (after we get rid of Stajan 🙂

  • SmellOfVictory

    I just realized… wouldn’t Backlund’s qualifying offer have been higher than this? Something like ~850,000? Did Backlund refuse the QO, then take a lower salary?

  • meat1

    First let me say I’m glad to see Backlund get signed. And let me also say I think some of the Flames recent signings have been for too much money, and too much term. So, naturally I would be thrilled with this?????

    Nope. I think we should have signed him to a three year deal in the 4 million range.

    For a young, up and comer home-grown talent, we have certainly not given him ONE public pat on the back. We (management) have threatened a two way deal, whined about inconsistency, etc.

    He is only 23. He’s had to break in on a team that has not tasted any success since he arrived. After listening to him on the fan 960 yesterday, I realized that maybe the Flames are on probation to Backlund just as much as the other way around. He spoke about going back home to Sweden to play if things don’t go well this year. Now wouldn’t that suck.

    He signed a one year deal because that’s all that was offered. But Sarich deserved two?? Wideman earned five??

    To me this reminds me a bit of the grade seven kid that gets picked on by another in his class. Instead of standing up for himself, he just goes down the hall and picks on a grade fiver.

  • MC Hockey

    @Kevin R – nice ideas but you need a trading partner to remove Stajan or Babchuk. Perhaps the new CBA will allow a “no penalty” buyout for 1-2 players per team…then FLames fans can be happy.

  • MC Hockey

    if the Flames can only buy out one of Babchuk or Stajan, who do they choose? My vote is Babchuk, since the Flames are thinner at center than on D (at least concerning bottom pair defensemen) and Stajan is at least marginally competent at even strength.

  • Subversive

    Then I’m OK with this deal. I do fear you risk burning your bridges by grinding your young talent so hard, but if there’s one more RFA contract to come yet, then I think if he has a good year they can get a fair, long term deal done after this season.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Backlund won’t go UFA until he turns 26 or 27, IIRC. It’s either the age of 26/27 or 7 seasons played in the NHL that allow a player to reach UFA status (there are a couple of other, weird exceptions that don’t apply to players we actually care about, so I won’t go into those).

      • SmellOfVictory

        NHL specifically, with a slightly different set of rules for guys who end up playing a great deal of time in the AHL (the players we generally don’t care about). Unless I’m getting that confused with the rules regarding waiver eligibility.

        It’s definitely just NHL seasons, though, rather than total pro seasons.