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NHL trade deadline

Backlund’s Value Never Higher, Teams Reportedly Asking About Flames Centres Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline

According to Elliotte Friedman, the Calgary Flames have been getting calls from the Carolina Hurricanes, who are looking to add a centre. Mikael Backlund’s career year and impressive showing against Auston Matthews on Thursday make him a valuable commodity.



It was a masterclass by the Calgary Flames’ best centre. 

There has been a late-breaking buzz around Mikael Backlund ahead of the NHL trade deadline thanks to his impressive season and the team’s troubles trending towards a possible sale by GM Brad Treliving. 

That will be even louder on Friday after Backlund’s shadowing limited Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews to just one assist in nearly 23 minutes of ice time in the Leafs’ 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday. 

Matthews and Mitch Marner were frequently double shifted on the night, and it was the fourth line that was victimized by the Matthews and Marner tandem on the second-period goal, which tied things up at 1-1 after Blake Coleman’s shorthanded breakaway snipe early in the contest. Calle Jarnkrok scored the winner in the third period after a Flames goal was reversed because of an offside. 

With Backlund out there with him, Matthews struggled to get his stick on the puck. Backlund was in the Leafs centre’s back pocket when he wasn’t physically attacking from the front. 

Backlund should be the Calgary Flames’ captain. The main reason he’s not is his contract, which expires at the end of next season. You don’t often resign a 33-year-old too early, and with his value as high as it has ever been and the Carolina Hurricanes being connected to the Flames as a potential partner while seeking a centre, Backlund may see his time as the longest-serving Flame come to an end. 

He’s among the top couple of possession darlings in the NHL. Patrice Bergeron will likely win the Selke again this year, but Backlund should be this year’s Elias Lindholm and finish as a finalist

“I feel like I wanted to build off how I played in the playoffs last year, and it felt like last year’s regular season was an off-year regular season for me,” Backlund told reporters on Thursday.

“I wanted to show this season I could still be a really good player in this league, and I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I can be a good player. That’s been my mentality.

“I’ve always said I wanted to be like a fine, nice red wine. That’s why I keep pushing myself.”

The results have been noticed across the league. The lack of results by the Flames has put Treliving in a spot where he has to at least strongly consider good offers. 

“I don’t know what Calgary is going to do here, but the sense I really have from talking to people who’ve dealt with them is that they’re just trying to wrap their heads around where they are and what that means. But I do think teams have called them and I think Carolina is one of them,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said on the Jeff Marek show on Thursday. 

“They have good players there who you can get two playoff runs out of and I think that people are just asking the Flames what they’re thinking. I don’t know if Calgary has an answer but they’re getting calls.”

Backlund talked about the trade deadline on Thursday, noting all the early action this season. 

“I try to control what I can control. Just focus on playing games, practicing,” he said. “That’s all I can do.

“I know this year’s a tricky situation, for sure.”

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