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Backlund Been Biding Time In Calgary To Talk Contract With Conroy

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When it comes to Mikael Backlund, two things are fairly certain: 1. He wants to win a Stanley Cup. 2. He’d like to do it with the Calgary Flames.

The question is whether new Flames GM Craig Conroy can convince the 34-year-old veteran that those two things are possible.

An interview with Backlund’s agent, J.P. Barry, on the Got Yer’ Back podcast this week, offered some optimistic insight.

Backlund planned to stay in Calgary for a “sit down” with Conroy before heading to Sweden sometime next week.

“They’re going to sit down and talk. It was not dissimilar to last year, I think, with changes,” Barry told Ryan Rishaug and Pierre LeBrun on Wednesday.

“I know we sat down with Brad Treliving at that time about the future.”

The future wasn’t looking so rosy the past few months — at least until Conroy was hired to lead the franchise into a new era, with a new approach and culture.

But does that include a reasonable shot at a Stanley Cup if Backlund was to sign an extension for two or three years?

“He’s got one year left, so he’s got some decisions. He’s been a Calgary Flame his whole life, but he needs to hear from the GM about what the future is. There’s a shorter window now for him,” Barry said. “Like any player, he wants to win, and he has not gone really deep in the playoffs or challenged for a Stanley Cup. It really is something that he wants to try and do, so they’ll have to have a good talk.”

The departure of Darryl Sutter, who was especially hard on the longest-serving Flames player, may be a good thing. MacKenzie Weegar shared that there were some heated exchanges between the former coach and Backlund.

The captaincy is another carrot Conroy can dangle. It would be tough to find a more well-liked player who exhibits all the leadership on and off the ice you want young players to model. In fact, he’s been the team’s King Clancy Award nominee for three straight seasons.

There are a lot of factors in play even if Backlund decides he wants to return — including a tough salary cap situation and a half-dozen significant players about to enter their final year under contract.

Money and term will matter to both parties. But a belief in the Calgary Flames’ ability to win might be more important. Backlund had played 42 playoff games and been past the first round twice in the 13 seasons he’s played with the Flames on a full-time basis.

On a radio appearance on Friday, Backlund was asked how meaningful the captaincy is to him and he expressed his interest in that while also acknowledging the number of factors at play for an extension.

We’ll see if Conroy can give both Backlund and Flames fans what they want.

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