Coming off the best year of his career, Mikael Backlund was hoping to carry over that success into this season.
A nagging abdominal issue has all but derailed those plans, however, and on Wednesday Backlund underwent surgery to try and correct this issue — one that’s limited him to just 11 of the Flames’ 24 games this season.
More, from the Calgary Sun:
“It got to the point it wasn’t getting any better,” GM Brad Treliving said in the first intermission of the team’s game against the San Jose Sharks. “They put in a little mesh plate. A lot of times it’s done with a sports hernia, there was no real sign of it. There’s a weakening of the abdominal wall, and they felt this was the next best step.”
What it means, though, remains to be seen for the 25-year-old.
“It was done in a way they feel potentially — I don’t want to be putting time frames — he could be skating in a couple of weeks,” Treliving said. “But with these things, you just don’t know. It’s been a nagging issue, really all year.”
The Backlund situation makes Calgary’s surprise start even more impressive. He was a vital contributor last season, scoring a career-high 18 goals and 39 points, and filled one of the top-two center spots by averaging over 18 minutes a night while leading the team in faceoffs taken.
That the Flames — a team that didn’t have much depth at center to begin with — currently sit three points back of Western Conference-leading Anaheim says a lot about their ability and “next man up” mentality.