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Time to step up — Backlund signs one-year deal with Flames

Jul 5, 2012, 5:30 PM EST

Mikael Backlund Getty Images

Mikael Backlund will get a great chance to show his stuff next season. The 23-year-old Swedish center has signed a one-year, $725,000 deal with the Flames, the announcement coming in the wake of Olli Jokinen’s departure for Winnipeg.

In a related story, next season might also be Backlund’s last chance to prove his worth with the team that drafted him 24th overall in 2007.

“Mikael has an opportunity to step up and attempt to secure a top two-line center position with our club,” said Flames GM Jay Feaster in a release. “He is a very talented player who skates well, has excellent vision and possesses a strong skill set. As we have discussed with him, Mikael needs to work on his consistency and his focus in order to break through in a top six role and start to define his role on our team. We are excited about the level of competition that should exist in camp this fall and we expect Mikael to be in the thick of those battles.”

Backlund should receive ample playing time with wingers like Jarome Iginla, Jiri Hudler, Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay. Michael Cammalleri is a natural winger, though he may have to play center.

Backlund had a tough 2011-12 with just four goals and seven assists in 41 games. He missed the last two months of the season with an arm injury.

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Related: Jokinen won’t be back in Calgary

  1. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    He’s just never done anything offensively. My guess is he starts the season on the third line with Comeau and Glencross.

    Tanguay-Cammy-Iginla
    Hudler-Cervenka-Baertschi
    Glencross-Backlund-Comeau
    Jones-Stajan-Jackman.

  2. DTF31 - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    He has no confidence on the ice. The talent is there but he always seems scared to make a play as if he’ll be sent to Abbotsford once he’s off the ice. Maybe that was just Sutter, who knows.

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