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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Is captain candidate Mikael Backlund able to re-up with Flames? Specific Instances

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There appears to be consensus.

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As Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson put it: “I feel the complete metropolis of Calgary is in settlement that if Backs (Mikael Backlund) will get a brand new contract, he’s the captain. There is no such thing as a doubt about that.”

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The captaincy has been a sizzling subject by way of the primary three days of coaching camp on the Saddledome.

Now, there are rumblings that contract talks are heating up between Backlund and the Flames.

Bear in mind, the 34-year-old centre had initially indicated that he wasn’t but prepared to barter a brand new deal, preferring to attend for proof this crew was able to contending for a playoff spot and, finally, a championship. However the NHL’s main newsbreaker, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, reported earlier this week: “I do consider Backlund has indicated he’s keen to remain.”

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“We’ll see what occurs,” Backlund mentioned after Saturday’s apply. “It’s fairly quiet proper now, however we’ll see what occurs. We haven’t decided but.

“I’m excited to be right here at camp. I’m actually excited to be round all the blokes and the teaching employees and everybody. So we’ll see the place we go from right here.”

Backlund’s present contract — with an annual cap hit of US$5.35 million — runs by way of the tip of the season, so there wouldn’t usually be a rush to get his signature on a brand new pact.

Besides that the Flames are intent on naming a captain previous to their Oct. 11 opener. If Backlund is, certainly, open to inking an extension, the attract of the ‘C’ might have been the game-changer. In that case, there’s a deadline looming.

It’s turn out to be clear over the previous week and alter that the dudes within the locker-room all consider Backlund must be carrying that letter. If the paperwork will get accomplished, they suppose the stitchwork is a no brainer. It’s not onerous to check a press convention the place the Flames announce an extension for his or her longest-serving skater, then flip round his No. 11 jersey to disclose the ‘C’ is already sewn on the chest. (The brass on the Saddledome would understandably be hesitant at hand that honour to a man who could also be leaving city just a few months later.)

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“I really feel like, my opinion, it’s just one man within the room who must be captain — I feel Mikael is unquestionably our captain,” mentioned Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov throughout a pre-camp interview on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. “It’s only a formal factor to place a ‘C’ on his shoulder.”

That has proved to be a well-liked opinion.

With the uncertainty about Backlund’s future, Andersson and star winger Jonathan Huberdeau have been talked about most frequently by way of the summer season because the potential frontrunners to captain the Flames in 2023-24 and past.

Each appear to be good decisions. Factor is, each have pointed to Backlund as the only option.

“Everyone knows Backs must be the captain,” Huberdeau mentioned on the primary day of coaching camp. “I feel all people ought to say it must be Mikael. I imply, he’s been right here 14 years. He deserves to be, and he’s a man that he’s chief. You possibly can simply inform. He will get all people collectively and stuff like that. So in my view, it must be him. Clearly, there’s contract stuff, however hopefully he stays with us and is the captain.”

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These form of feedback get again to a man.

Backlund, now coming into his sixteenth season with the Flames and has worn an ‘A’ for six of these, is admittedly flattered.

“When it comes from the gamers, which means probably the most,” he mentioned Saturday. “It makes me really feel good and it provides me extra confidence to tackle much more management and possession.

“It’s very particular when your teammates suppose you’re the chief. If the coaches and administration thought I used to be the captain or chief however the gamers didn’t, then it wouldn’t really feel the identical. For me, that the gamers come out and say that, it means probably the most to me.”

You possibly can wager that the coaches and administration are taking word.

Backlund informed reporters this week that it “could be an enormous honour” to be chosen as captain.

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Is he keen to re-up to make it occur? We should always discover out quickly.

ICE CHIPS: The Flames open their exhibition slate Sunday as they play host to the Vancouver Canucks, a 6 p.m. puck-drop on the Saddledome … Head coach Ryan Huska revealed that Dillon Dube topped the crew fitness-testing charts for the third straight season … Flames defence prospect Jeremie Poirier ditched his no-contact jersey for Saturday’s session. The 21-year-old Poirier, named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Crew in 2022-23, skipped the Younger Stars Traditional in Penticton so he might absolutely get better from an damage.

wgilbertson@postmedia.com

X: @WesGilbertson

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