Flames making progress on extension with F Backlund
The Calgary Flames appear to be making progress towards an extension with veteran forward Mikael Backlund, TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports.
The 34-year-old centre is one of eight pending unrestricted free agents on the Flames roster, a list that also includes Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.
"There's at least some positive energy around talks that have started recently here with Mikael Backlund," Johnston said Tuesday on Insider Trading. "This is a significant player for the Flames, having spent his entire career so far in Calgary.
"He had previously indicated that this summer he didn't want to talk about an extension. He wanted to see how things would play out. But after thinking about it over the last couple of months, getting back to Calgary at the end of the summer and seeing where the environment is at under a new coaching staff led by Ryan Huska, Backlund is in a position where he's willing to engage on a commitment – a longer-term commitment than he has remaining for this season.
"Those talks have started to happen. I'm told they're going to happen again here in the near future, and there's at least a push here towards getting a deal done."
Backlund posted 19 goals and 56 points in 82 games last season
He told reporters earlier this month he wanted to see how the Flames bounce back from missing the playoffs before making a decision on his future.
“I just want to see where this team is going,” Backlund said. “I only have so many years left and I want to make the most of it. But I love Calgary. I’m not just going to take off and leave.”
The Flames focused the majority of their changes off the ice this summer, having mutually parted ways with general manager Brad Treliving and firing head coach Darryl Sutter and replacing them with in-house candidates in GM Craig Conroy and head coach Huska.
“If we have a good season and things feel really good, just the mood is different, everyone’s excited, everyone fits in, everything works, we’re contending to be a top-three or are a top-three [division] team going into the second half, that would be a big thing for me,” Backlund added.
Selected 24th overall by Calgary in 2007, Backlund has 185 goals and 492 points in 908 career games with the team.
The Flames, who have reached the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, have failed to advance past the second round since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.