Mikael Backlund has been considered a disappointment since the Calgary Flames drafted him with the 24th-overall selection in the 2007 entry draft. He’s played in nearly 200 NHL contests and has yet to truly find his groove in Calgary. Since the Flames acquired Joe Colborne and decided to keep outstanding rookie Sean Monahan, Backlund has found himself relegated to centering the fourth line.
The rapid fall down the depth chart has apparently caught the eyes of several teams.
4 or 5 teams have kicked tires on Calgary’s Mikael Backlund. Flames willing to move him.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 23, 2013
The 24-year-old pivot is aware of the trade rumors, and addressed them directly when he spoke to Wes Gilbertson of The Calgary Sun over the weekend:
I get Twitter, so I saw it on there. And I watch TSN, so I heard it there, too. Watching TV and my name comes up, it’s a little surprising. But at the same time, it’s part of the business and it hasn’t been a great start, so you kind of expect it, too, a little bit
Despite his struggles and the sudden upturn in the rumor mill, Backlund stressed that he wants to remain a Flame:
I love Calgary. I love the city, the fans, the guys in the room here. The organization has been great, so everything is good here. I enjoy my time here.
It isn’t known at this point which teams are interested in the young center or what Calgary wants in return. They have been active in the trade market recently, and the groundwork could be in place to make a bigger move in the near future. The Flames seem keen on stockpiling cap space and draft picks, and the franchise could possibly land both in moving Backlund.