Mikael Backlund’s faced plenty of adversity during his time in Calgary, and the latest chapter came on Wednesday when he was a healthy scratch against Toronto.
But, according to Flames head coach Bob Hartley, the healthy scratch wasn’t as negative as it seemed.
“I wasn’t very pleased to scratch him, but I felt that I had to do it. I sat with him and we had a great talk,” Hartley told the Calgary Herald. “I don’t want him in a limited role all year. He’s a young prospect for us, even though he’s been in the organization for a few years now. I think he has a lot to offer.”
Backlund, the club’s first-round pick (24th overall) at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has four points in 11 games this year, averaging a healthy 18 minutes per night. Hartley, though, wants to see more offense from Backlund and have him produce like a top-two center.
What’s more, Hartley is going out of his way to help Backlund get there.
“I want to be a partner with him and help him,” Hartley explained. “We do lots of video. We try to show all of our players what we want, what we expect from there.
“He is so conscientious about his defense that he forgets that he has lots of skills. It’s my job to remind him of this.”