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.