Mikael Backlund

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Mikael Backlund
Mikael Backlund 140328.png
Born (1989-03-17) March 17, 1989 (age 25)
Västerås, Sweden
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 194 lb (88 kg; 13 st 12 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team Calgary Flames
National team  Sweden
NHL Draft 24th overall, 2007
Calgary Flames
Playing career 2008–present

Mikael Backlund (born March 17, 1989) is a Swedish professional ice hockey centre for the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was a first round selection, 24th overall, of the Flames in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and made his NHL debut in 2008–09. Backlund played junior hockey for VIK Västerås HK in the J20 SuperElit and the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He was a member of Kelowna's WHL championship team in 2009. Internationally, Backlund has represented Sweden on several occasions. He was a member of two silver medal-winning teams at the World Junior Championship and has won a bronze and silver medal with the Swedes at the World Championship.

Playing career[edit]

Västerås HK[edit]

Backlund began his junior hockey career with the VIK Västerås HK organization in the J20 SuperElit, Sweden's premier junior league. His impressive two-way play earned him the opportunity to play for Västerås' senior team in the second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan as a sixteen-year-old. In his debut on November 2, 2005, during an away game against Växjö Lakers, Backlund scored a goal in the first period of a 4–0 win and was selected as the player of the game for his team.[citation needed] He tallied four points in his twelve games in HockeyAllsvenskan during the 2005–06 season. That same season, Backlund was dominant in the 2006 TV-pucken, a national under-17 tournament in Sweden played among districts. Leading the tournament in goal- and point-scoring, he was selected as the most valuable player and given the Sven Tumba Award as best forward in the tournament.[1]

Backlund played another two seasons for Västerås HK, splitting time in the J20 SuperElit and HockeyAllsvenskan. During this time, he was selected in the first round, 24th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Scouts had ranked him second among European players.[2] Following the 2007–08 season, Backlund signed an entry-level contract with the Flames.[3] He impressed during the rookie camp but was not as successful during the main training camp,[4][5] and started the 2008–09 season playing on loan for Västerås back in HockeyAllsvenskan.[5] After his success in the 2009 World Junior Championships, he returned to Calgary and made his NHL debut on 8 January 2009 in a 5–2 win against the New York Islanders. Soon thereafter, the Flames assigned him to the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the remainder of the 2008–09 season. Competing for the Rockets in the 2009 WHL playoffs, Backlund tied teammate Jamie Benn for the league lead with 13 goals in 19 games as Kelowna defeated the Calgary Hitmen in the final to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.[6]

Calgary Flames[edit]

Backlund skating against the Penguins in 2013

Backlund began the 2009–10 season with the Flames' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. On January 26, 2010, he was called up to play on the NHL squad,[7] and scored his first NHL goal on January 28 against the Phoenix Coyotes. He split the season between the AHL and NHL, scoring 32 points in 54 games in Abbotsford, and 10 points in 23 games with Calgary.[8] Though he spent most of the 2010–11 season in Calgary, Backlund struggled offensively early, and after scoring just eight points in his first 32 games, was sat out of six consecutive games as a healthy scratch before being sent to Abbotsford on a brief conditioning stint.[9] He appeared in 73 games for the Flames, scoring 10 goals and 25 points.[10]

Injuries plagued Backlund throughout 2011–12. He was expected to centre the top line between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay, but suffered a broken finger in training camp that twice required surgery to repair and caused him to miss the first six weeks of the season.[11] He then suffered a shoulder injury in a mid-February game while attempting to confront a Vancouver Canucks player he felt had injured a teammate.[12] The injury ended his season, and in 41 games, he scored only 11 points.[13]

Following the season, the Flames re-signed Backlund to a new contract for the 2012–13 season, a one-year deal worth US$725,000.[14] However, with the season's start delayed by a labour dispute, Backlund returned to Sweden for the balance of the lockout. He re-joined Västerås and appeared in 23 games for the team, scoring 12 goals and 30 points before returning to North America after a new deal between the NHL and its players was reached. His performance with Västerås provided a confidence boost for Backlund, who said that he wanted to return to Calgary and "show everybody I can play way better".

In July 2013, the Flames re-signed Backlund to a 2-year, $3 million contract.[15]

International[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  Sweden
Ice hockey
World Championships
Bronze 2010 Germany
Silver 2011 Slovakia
Bronze 2014 Belarus
World Junior Championships
Silver 2008 Czech Republic
Silver 2009 Canada
World U18 Junior Championships
Bronze 2007 Finland

Backlund played for Sweden in the 2006 World U18 Championships, scoring one goal in three games. In 2007 he led Sweden to a U18 bronze medal when he scored a natural hat-trick in an 8–3 win over Canada in the bronze medal game. He led the tournament in goal-scoring with six goals in six games.[16]

Backlund was a member of the Swedish team that won back-to-back silvers in the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships, losing to Canada in both instances. He scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the 2008 semi-final against Russia. The next year, he recorded a two-goal game in the semi-final against Slovakia.

After being eliminated in the second round of the AHL playoffs Backlund was invited to play for Sweden at the World Championships and accepted.

Personal life[edit]

Backlund is charitably active in both Calgary and Sweden. In Calgary, he is a spokesman for both the Special Olympics and the Kid's Cancer Care Foundation. Since 2013, he has donated $150 to the latter charity for each NHL point he records. In Sweden, Backlund participated in the Ride for Hope bicycle race and raised $27,000 for charity. The Flames recognized his charitable efforts by naming him the 2014 recipient of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award.[17]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2005–06 Västerås HK J20 25 15 16 31 30
2005–06 Västerås HK Swe-2 12 2 2 4 14
2006–07 Västerås HK J20 7 5 4 9 8 5 1 0 1 4
2006–07 Västerås HK Swe-2 18 1 2 3 14
2007–08 Västerås HK J20 9 7 6 13 20
2007–08 Västerås HK Swe-2 37 9 4 13 24 14 6 3 9 4
2008–09 Västerås HK J20 2 3 2 5 0
2008–09 Västerås HK Swe-2 17 4 4 8 39
2008–09 Calgary Flames NHL 1 0 0 0 0
2008–09 Kelowna Rockets WHL 28 12 18 30 26 19 13 10 23 26
2009–10 Abbotsford Heat AHL 54 15 17 32 26 13 1 8 9 14
2009–10 Calgary Flames NHL 23 1 9 10 6
2010–11 Calgary Flames NHL 73 10 15 25 18
2010–11 Abbotsford Heat AHL 1 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Calgary Flames NHL 41 4 7 11 16
2012–13 Västerås HK Swe-2 23 12 18 30 22
2012–13 Calgary Flames NHL 32 8 8 16 29
2013–14 Calgary Flames NHL 76 18 21 39 32
NHL totals 246 41 60 101 101
Statistics complete to the end of the 2013–14 season

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2006 Sweden U18 6th 3 1 0 1 0
2007 Sweden U18 3rd 6 6 1 7 6
2008 Sweden WJC 2nd 6 3 4 7 10
2009 Sweden WJC 2nd 6 5 2 7 6
2010 Sweden WC 3rd 6 0 1 1 2
2011 Sweden WC 2nd 9 3 2 5 2
2014 Sweden WC 3rd 10 5 3 8 29
Junior totals 21 15 7 22 22
Senior totals 25 8 6 14 33

Awards and honours[edit]

Career
TV-pucken Most Valuable Player Award 2006 [1]
TV-pucken Sven Tumba Award
Best forward
2006 [1]
Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award
CGY – Leadership and community service
2013–14 [17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Hederspriser i TV-pucken" (PDF) (in Swedish). Swedish Ice Hockey Association. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  2. ^ "ISS Top 30 for 2007 -- Final Ranking". hockeysfuture.com. 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  3. ^ "Flames sign 2007 draft choice Mikael Backlund". calgaryflames.com. 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  4. ^ Compton, Brian (2008-08-29). "Nemisz burns bright among Flames prospects". NHL.com. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  5. ^ a b "Flames prospect Backlund to spend remainder of season in North America". Canadian Press. NHL.com. 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  6. ^ Watts, Jesse (ed.). 2013–14 Western Hockey League Official Guide. Western Hockey League. p. 215. 
  7. ^ "Backlund Recalled". calgaryflames.com. 2010-01-26. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  8. ^ "Mikael Backlund hoping to make impact with Flames this year". The Sports Network. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  9. ^ MacFarlane, Steve (2011-01-02). "Backlund cool to Heat demotion". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  10. ^ "Mikael Backlund profile". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  11. ^ Sportak, Randy (2011-11-10). "Flames Backlund to play Friday". QMI Agency. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  12. ^ Gilbertson, Wes (2012-02-11). "Let's hope Backlund injury isn't long term". QMI Agency. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  13. ^ Cruickshank, Scott (2012-10-04). "Backlund signs two-month deal with Swedish Elite League club". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  14. ^ "Flames re-sign Mikael Backlund: NHL free agency roundup". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  15. ^ Sportak, Randy (2013-01-08). "Rejuvenated Backlund eager to show what he can do". Calgary Sun. p. S6. 
  16. ^ "GOAL SCORING LEADERS" (PDF). International Ice Hockey Federation. 2007-04-22. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  17. ^ a b Smith, Sheldon (2014-03-27). "Backlund earns Scurfield trophy". Calgary Herald. p. B10. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Leland Irving
Calgary Flames first round draft pick
2007
Succeeded by
Greg Nemisz