Flames ink Backlund to multi-year extension; name him 21st captain in team history

Calgary came to terms on a contract extension with the longtime franchise staple before officially handing Backlund the "C" on Wednesday.

The Calgary Flames have signed center Mikael Backlund to a two-year, $9-million extension, the team announced Wednesday.

In a corresponding move, the Flames also filled an important vacancy by naming Backlund the 21st captain in franchise history. Currently Calgary's longest-tenured player, Backlund becomes the first Flames skater to wear the "C" since Mark Giordano led the club from 2013-21, with the team going without a captain for each of the past two seasons.

"Mikael Backlund is our captain. He has been our captain for some time. Today we are excited to extend Mikael for two more seasons and officially add the captaincy to his jersey," Flames general manager Craig Conroy said.

"We look forward to his continued leadership on the ice, in the locker room and in our community."

Wednesday was a big one for Mikael Backlund and the Calgary Flames. (Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
Wednesday was a big one for Mikael Backlund and the Calgary Flames. (Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

The 34-year-old had reportedly stated he was unwilling to sign an extension over the summer due to discontent with head coach Darryl Sutter. Several other members of the Flames expressed similar sentiments.

After letting Sutter go, however, attitudes about sticking around in Calgary reportedly shifted within the organization, ultimately pushing Backlund to re-up with the club.

Despite a down year for the Flames on the whole — with the club missing the postseason altogether following the exit of key stars Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk — Backlund enjoyed a highly productive 2022-23 season.

The two-way Swedish pivot scored 19 goals and notched a career-high 56 points while playing in all 82 games for the second straight season.

Additionally, thanks to his strong defensive acumen, Backlund earned strong Selke consideration as the league's top defensive forward, finishing sixth after earning a runner-up finnish in 2021-22. He was also awarded the NHL's King Clancy Memorial Trophy over the summer for his charitable efforts in the Calgary community.

While getting Backlund's deal done marks a significant win for new Flames GM Craig Conroy, Calgary still has plenty of work to do with its pending unrestricted free agents. Reports continue to persist that talks have stalled with fellow Swedish center Elias Lindholm, while defenseman Noah Hanifin is also in need of a new contract and reportedly remains uninterested in extending with the Flames.