Breathe Easy: Flames Sign Backlund

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

62394966

(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.

      • RexLibris

        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.