What could Mikael Backlund’s next contract look like?

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
8 months ago
Sportsnet’s Eric Francis dropped an interesting tidbit of information during Monday’s broadcast of the Calgary Flames’ 10-0 beat down of the Vancouver Canucks.
According to Francis, the Flames and Mikael Backlund are negotiating a contract extension to keep the veteran forward in Calgary. Backlund would most likely become the next captain of the Flames if both parties were to come to an agreement on a deal.
What could a Backlund extension look like? Let’s see if we can find any comparable contracts and come up with a fair number for Backlund.
(One thing we have to keep in mind when discussing a Backlund contract is that he still has a full year remaining on his current deal. His next contract will start in the 2024-25 season)
Backlund is in a unique position. There aren’t many 35-year-old forwards who are as effective as he has been over the last decade. The Flames longest tenured player on the roster has been a staple on the second line since the 2013-14 season.  In that role, Backlund has consistently played at a 40+ point pace over 82 games and been one of the best shut down forwards in the game earning Selke votes in multiple seasons.
Not only has Backlund put up impressive counting stats, his analytics are also some of the best in the NHL. Among 256 forwards to play at least 2000 minutes at 5 on 5 over the last three seasons, Backlund ranks seventh in CF%, 15th in xGF%, 39th in HDCF%, and 41st in GF%. Pretty impressive for a player in his mid thirties. (Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)
35-year-old players across the NHL rarely sign any contracts over two years. Since 2013, only Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Marleau, Dainius Zubrus, Patrik Elias, Joe Pavelski and Evgeni Malkin have signed deals that were three years or longer after their 35th birthday (forwards only). Backlund’s name may not have the same cachet as some of the players I listed, but he has been every bit as productive as these players when it comes to his 200-foot game at a similar age. That makes me think that a three year deal is not out of the realm of possibility.
The two comparable contracts I came up with for Backlund were Joe Pavelski’s three year deal he signed in 2019, and Jeff Carter’s two year deal he signed in 2022.
Joe Pavelski (35 Years Old)3 Years, $7 million AAV
Jeff Carter (37 Years Old)2 Years, $3.125 million AAV
(Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly)
Backlund falls somewhere in between these two contacts. He’s a better player than Carter was when he signed his deal in 2023. But he’s not as productive as Pavelski when he signed his deal four years ago. We can go back four years to look at a comparable because the cap has only gone up $2 million since 2019-20.
Pavelski (2018-19)75382664
Carter (2021-22)76192645
Backlund (2022-23)82193756
(Stats Courtesy of Hockey DB)
The Flames and Backlund are likely going to sign a two or three-year contract extension with an average annual value between $4-5 million
A two-year contract will be closer to $5 million AAV. A three-year contract should bring down the AAV closer to $4 million.
My prediction: 2 Year Contract, $4.9 million AAV
Lets see some predictions from Flames Twitter!

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