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Calgary Flames

2021 Flames Report Card: Mikael Backlund

While often in a 3C role, Backlund still posted solid numbers



Mikael Backlund, Center

2020-21 Stats: 54 GP, 9 G, 23 A, 32 Pts, 30 PIM, -7

54.35 CF%, 1.78 CFRel%, 57.54 xGF%, 4.93 xGFRel%

2019-20 Grade: B+

2018-19 Grade: A-

Individual Grades

MGMacGillivray: B- – I originally had his grade listed at a C based on just the eye test, but after reviewing his stats from this season, I decided to bump it up to a B-. Backlund was once again an absolutely solid two way center for the team, posting some of the best possession numbers on the squad. He finished on a point pace in the high 40’s to low 50’s, something he has done pretty much every year since 2013-14. He is the model of consistency even if it felt like he was fighting the puck at times this year. He had a slow start this year which seems to be the norm for him but really turned it on down the stretch. Along with a low 6.3% shooting percentage, I don’t think it’s a stretch to see his goal totals bounce back next year. Even if the Flames are looking to make changes, I think Backlund is a guy you have to hold on to, at least for now.

MarkParkinson14: C- I don’t like saying bad things about my favorite players, but Backlund was just “there” this season. His worst stretch of the season was an 8 game slump without a point, but even considering his play outside of that, his game didn’t feel that impactful. I want a full season of Backlund without revolving line mates to see if this was just an off season. He’s a fantastic defensive centre and even after a down year, I’d still like to see him as a building block for next season.

RenuSahota: B Backlund makes everybody better. He has the sense of puck and player positions, and he's never not hustling, He creates scoring chances.

MadelineCampbell: B- I would say Backlund felt aggressively just fine to me this season. Was he consistently as effect as we’ve seen him be over the last few seasons, or as productive as we know he can be? No, not quite. But he’s a player who tends to still have all of his details taken care of, even when he’s not bringing a ton of flash, and I found that to generally still be the case with him this season (which the possession numbers back up). Would we have liked to see a little bit more? Sure. But he did still bring quite a bit of good, and that's more than we can say from a good portion of the roster.

Gordie.Taylor: C His stats are fine. Good even, considering he was the third centre for a good chunk of the year. And yet, Backlund disappointed. He was too hot and cold during the important parts of the season, and he seemed to retreat inwards on himself with the demotion down the lineup. His two-way play is still superbly strong, and he would have got more of a pass from me had other players been able to make up for his diminished scoring. For me, he’s a sneaky option to expose to Seattle. With 5.3 million and 3 years left on a contract for a third line centre, his spot could certainly be replaced for cheaper.

Flashalytics: A

MilhouseFirehouse: C

Readers: C+

Final Grade: B-

by Michael MacGillivray