This weekend’s report that the Calgary Flames are willing to trade forward Mikael Backlund had at least one person a “little” surprised.
And that person was Mikael Backlund.
“I get Twitter, so I saw it on there. And I watch TSN, so I heard it there, too,” he said Saturday, per the Calgary Sun. “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.”
Backlund was the Flames’ first-round pick (24th overall) in 2007. Now 24, it’s fair to say he hasn’t developed at the rate the club had hoped he would.
“I want to help him realize what he needs to keep doing,” head coach Bob Hartley said in April. “He’s tougher in puck battles. He’s going harder at the net. I want him to play as a centerman. You need to be able to play the game in the three zones. He’s a great skater. He’s got great vision. I want to help him expand his role and believe in himself.”
Despite all the talents Hartley listed, Backlund has just two goals and five assists in 22 games this season and was a healthy scratch on Oct. 30 versus Toronto. But some clubs apparently believe Backlund could use a fresh start, with the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman saying Saturday (video) there could be “quite a bit of interest,” depending what the Flames want in return.
Steven Stamkos had been shut out for the first five periods (plus overtime) of the season, but that drought didn’t last much longer.
Stamkos scored his first of the year in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
The 25-year-old buried a rebound past Buffalo’s Chad Johnson at the 8:53 mark of the third period to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-1.
As you can tell by the video above, it won’t be Stamkos’ most memorable goal, but it’s good to see him get the first one out of the way.
There aren’t many guys who have a nose for the net like the Lightning’s captain, as he, Rick Nash and Alexander Ovechkin were the only players to hit the 40 goal mark last season.
Erik Condra, Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Brown also scored for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay will play their next game on Oct. 12 against the Boston Bruins.
Ray Emery has agreed to join the Ontario Reign on a professional tryout, according to a team release.
The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
Emery attended Tampa Bay’s training camp on a PTO, but he was released after the team claimed Kevin Poulin on waivers from the Islanders.
The 33-year-old had a 10-11-7 record with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 31 games with the Flyers last season.
Even with starter Jonathan Quick struggling, it’s hard to envision this move leading to a return to the NHL for Emery.
The Kings have Quick and Jhonas Enroth with the big club, while veteran Peter Budaj was signed to a two-way contract on Friday.