Seravalli: Mikael Backlund ‘leaning towards not re-signing’ with Calgary Flames
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
There’s a distinct possibility that the Calgary Flames could be losing a franchise cornerstone, whether in the immediate or near future. Speaking on Sportsnet 960’s Big Show on Thursday morning, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported (and later tweeted) that longtime Flames centre and alternate captain Mikael Backlund is leaning towards not re-signing with the club when his contract expires in 2024.
“And here’s the name that I learned yesterday that I was actually pretty surprised to hear, another one of those guys that’s entering the final year of his deal and has been a staple in Calgary forever, is Mikael Backlund. He, at this exact moment in time, subject to change, is also leaning towards not re-signing with Flames.”
Seravalli elaborated on Backlund’s situation on Sportsnet 960, suggesting that “maybe” he’s the player that could end up staying – because he’s spent so much time in Calgary and is so valued by the club – but that the belief is that he, along with Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin, are leaning towards not re-signing.
Backlund has been with the Flames forever, being selected by the club in the 2007 NHL Draft and sticking around ever since. Backlund has played all of his 908 career NHL games in a Flames jersey, amassing 185 goals and 492 points in the process. He’s ranked third on the club’s all-time games played list, behind only Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla and longtime captain Mark Giordano.
Since arriving in Calgary, Backlund has evolved from a young player with an incomplete game into one of the most respected two-way players in the game. He’s formed extremely potent two-way tandems alongside the likes of Matthew Tkachuk, Michael Frolik, Andrew Mangiapane, Sam Bennett and Blake Coleman, among others. He’s received Selke Trophy consideration fairly consistently since 2016-17, including finishing fourth in balloting that season.
But Backlund hasn’t won much of anything with the Flames, playing just 42 playoff games and advancing from the first round just twice. He made comments at his end-of-season press conference that he wants to win, a sentiment echoed by agent J.P. Barry in a recent podcast appearance. Backlund is one of the most significant players in franchise history, and if he opts to leave for a club with a better chance at contending, it seems likely that fans won’t really blame him for making such a move.
We’ll have more on this story as it develops.
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