Apr 12, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT
With six goals and five assists in 24 games this season, we’re not sure the 24-year-old center has made the most of his opportunity; however, it doesn’t sound like the organization is ready to give up on him quite yet.
“I want to help him realize what he needs to keep doing,” coach Bob Hartley said, per the Calgary Herald. “He’s tougher in puck battles. He’s going harder at the net. I want him to play as a centerman. You need to be able to play the game in the three zones. He’s a great skater. He’s got great vision. I want to help him expand his role and believe in himself.”
Given the dearth of centers in the NHL, high draft picks that play the middle will usually get multiple chances to prove themselves. And based on what Hartley said, the still-young Swede is improving.
Backlund is a pending restricted free agent that’s finishing out a one-year, $725,000 contract.
“Obviously, the better I play, the better contract I’ll get — that’s how it works,” said Backlund. “So I’m trying to do my best and show them that I want to be a part of this team, I want to be part of the future of this organization.
“Hopefully, I’d like to stay here.”
- Eller, Habs agree to four-year, $14 million contract 9
- Cory Sarich hospitalized following cycling accident, expects ‘full recovery’ 6
- Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016 26
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain 42
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal 38
- Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal 42
- Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M 25
- Leafs hire 28-year-old stats advocate as assistant GM 30
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 69
- Stars, Roussel agree on four-year, $8 million deal 3
- Babcock fires back over allegations that free agents avoid him (77)
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 (69)
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation (61)
- Lucic regrets handshake-line actions, but isn’t apologizing (58)
- Report: O’Reilly wants $6.7M deal, Avs counter at $5.5M (58)