Mikael Backlund’s agent on his Calgary Flames future: ‘He wants to win’

Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
After so many years with the organization, we think we know a few things about Calgary Flames alternate captain Mikael Backlund. He’s loyal, given that he’s played over 900 games for the same team. He’s good at hockey, given that he’s been perpetually in the Selke Trophy conversation since roughly 2014. But given that Backlund turned 34 in March, time is beginning to work against Backlund capturing a Stanley Cup.
Backlund’s agent, CAA Sports’ J.P. Barry, joined Ryan Rishaug and Pierre LeBrun on Wednesday’s edition of the Got Yer’ Back podcast and shared a bit about Backlund’s situation.

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Here’s Barry, responding to LeBrun asking if he’s heard from new Flames general manager Craig Conroy:
“I have heard from him. Mikael’s still working out in Calgary, so I know he does plan to talk to Craig again this week before he leaves. I think he heads back to Sweden early next week for awhile. They’re going to sit down and talk. It was not dissimilar to last year, I think, with changes. I know we sat down with Brad Treliving at that time about the future.
When you’ve been with the organization as long as Mikael has, he’s been there since the very beginning. He played with Craig, also, he’s been there that long, I believe. Early on. Have to look at the crossover, but I believe they did play together. So I think they’ll sit down with him.
He’s got one year left, so he’s got some decisions. He’s been a Calgary Flame his whole life, but he needs to hear from the GM about what the future is. There’s a shorter window now for him. Like any player, he wants to win, and he has not gone really deep in the playoffs or challenged for a Stanley Cup. It really is something that he wants to try and do, so they’ll have to have a good talk.”
Yes, Backlund played with Conroy. Conroy was in the lineup for Backlund’s short-notice NHL debut in January 2009. Then Backlund and Conroy were teammates during a chunk of 2009-10 (as Backlund bounced between the NHL and the AHL), and a portion of 2010-11 before Conroy’s retirement. Conroy’s been in management ever since, so it’s safe to say that Backlund and Conroy know each other fairly well at this point.
But at the age of 34, Backlund has played just 42 NHL playoff games and he’s been out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs twice. As a matter of fact, he’s played more World Championship games than Stanley Cup playoff games. And that’s a problem when you’re somebody who’s seeing the finish line of their NHL career starting to appear on the horizon and wanting to maximize the time he has left.
Suffice it to say: Backlund and Conroy will be having a very interesting conversation in the near future, and the implications of that chat could be felt within the organization for awhile to come.

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