If you want to get really traditional, players have to graduate to a non-training camp number – that is to say, a lower one. A lot of training camp numbers tend to be high and look odd and out of place, but it kind of fits: when they make the team for real, they’ll get their number for real.
Mikael Backlund started life in the NHL as #60, but once he made it full time, he took over #11. He’s already one of the longest-tenured Flames to wear it.
#11 on the Flames
Backlund is the 19th player on the Flames to ever wear #11:
- RW Leon Rochefort
- C Bill Hogaboam
- C Claude St. Sauveur
- RW Bob MacMillan
- D Al MacInnis
- C Bobby Lalonde
- C Steve Christoff
- W Colin Patterson
- RW Gary Leeman
- LW Chris Lindberg
- C Kelly Kisio
- LW Pat Conacher
- C Eric Landry
- C Jeff Shantz
- C Stephane Yelle
- RW Owen Nolan
- RW Fredrik Sjostrom
- LW Niklas Hagman
- C Mikael Backlund
We’ve entered the realm of almost exclusively forwards – except hey, what up, MacInnis! Of course, MacInnis isn’t well known or wearing #11, and he only wore it for like, the two games he played in the 1981-82 season. That’s it. So technically he does count, but otherwise, this list is populated by forwards.
A pretty healthy mix of them, too. The number has consistently been Backlund’s for a while now, but it did experience a bit of Dion Phaneuf trade-related turmoil right before he upgraded.
The best #11
Okay obviously it’s MacInnis but he only played two games wearing that number. Also, it’s kind of unfair; it’s Al MacInnis.
So next on the list, at least in terms of points per game, would appear to be a mix of Kisio, Nolan, and MacMillan (Leeman is kind of in there, but I get the feeling it’s not quite through an optimal circumstance…). Well, Nolan only played one season in Calgary, and Kisio spent just his final years here. MacMillan is a pretty great candidate, though.
Backlund is still fighting to be a half a point per game player, and a good season could see him finally make it. He’s still a bit further down the list, though, and the chances of him rising high into the top ranks may not be that great – especially if he’s playing mostly a defensive role.
Then again, Yelle was hardly a great point scorer, but easy to love. And it’s not like Backlund will ever be at the bottom.
|#1 – Brian Elliott||#3 – Jyrki Jokipakka|
|#5 – Mark Giordano||#6 – Dennis Wideman|
|#7 – T.J. Brodie|