Mikael Backlund will get a great chance to show his stuff next season. The 23-year-old Swedish center has signed a one-year, $725,000 deal with the Flames, the announcement coming in the wake of Olli Jokinen’s departure for Winnipeg.
In a related story, next season might also be Backlund’s last chance to prove his worth with the team that drafted him 24th overall in 2007.
“Mikael has an opportunity to step up and attempt to secure a top two-line center position with our club,” said Flames GM Jay Feaster in a release. “He is a very talented player who skates well, has excellent vision and possesses a strong skill set. As we have discussed with him, Mikael needs to work on his consistency and his focus in order to break through in a top six role and start to define his role on our team. We are excited about the level of competition that should exist in camp this fall and we expect Mikael to be in the thick of those battles.”
Backlund should receive ample playing time with wingers like Jarome Iginla, Jiri Hudler, Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay. Michael Cammalleri is a natural winger, though he may have to play center.
Backlund had a tough 2011-12 with just four goals and seven assists in 41 games. He missed the last two months of the season with an arm injury.
Related: Jokinen won’t be back in Calgary
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Twitter will live stream for free one Major League Baseball game and one NHL game per week under a new deal.
The agreement announced Monday will allow viewers to watch games nationally that would normally be available only in the two teams’ home markets. Users will not need to be logged into Twitter to see the games.
The baseball games will also be available outside the U.S., with some exceptions. Twitter did not announce the game schedule Monday.
The social media network is attempting to move into live sports streaming through “over-the-top” broadcasts, which do not require a cable subscription. In April, Twitter reached a deal with the NFL to stream 10 “Thursday Night Football” games this fall.
The Red Wings added some goalie depth on Monday, agreeing to terms with journeyman Cal Heeter.
Heeter, 27, broke in with the Flyers organization a while back and made his big-league debut in ’13-14, appearing in one game.
Since then, he’s bounced around the ECHL, AHL (with the Toronto Marlies) and, last season, split his time between Hamburg of the German League and Zagreb Medvescak of the KHL.
By itself, this signing isn’t especially noteworthy, as Heeter projects to be an American League mainstay next year.
But the contract is kind of interesting when looking and the big-picture goalie situation in Detroit. The Wings now have Heeter, Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau, Eddie Pasquale and Jake Paterson all under contract for next season, which is an awful lot of goalies.
With that in mind, remember that Howard’s name has been in trade talks for quite some time.
HC Kunlun Red Star, the Beijing-based expansion team that will begin playing in the KHL next season, has added a pair of former NHLers.
Sean Collins, who appeared in a pair of games for the Capitals last season, and Brett Bellemore, a veteran of over 100 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes, have agreed to join the club, per Russian news outlet R-Sport.
Bellemore, 28, was originally drafted by the ‘Canes in 2007 and spent most of his professional career with the organization. He signed on with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence last year, and appeared in 56 games.
Collins, 27, broke in with the Blue Jackets before signing with the Caps last season. He spent the majority of the year in AHL Hershey and fared well — 16 goals and 39 points in 75 games — and scored three times in the playoffs, helping the Bears advance to the Calder Cup final.
Veteran forward Mike Santorelli, who’s appeared in over 400 NHL contests over the last eight years, is headed overseas.
Per multiple reports (see here and here), Santorelli has signed with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss League. The 30-year-old spent last season with the Ducks, scoring nine goals and 18 points in 70 games but didn’t dress for any of the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Nashville.
Santorelli broke into the NHL with Nashville but enjoyed his best years with Florida and Vancouver. He was a former 20-goal scorer with the Panthers and enjoyed a successful stint with his hometown Canucks in ’13-14, scoring 28 points in 49 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
Santorelli is the second veteran forward to sign in the Swiss League recently. Over the weekend, fellow journeyman Kris Versteeg agreed to join SC Bern.