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'This is where we belong': Mikael Backlund extended by Flames, named team captain

The Calgary Flames have signed centre Mikael Backlund to a two-year contract extension, and named him the 21st team captain in franchise history.

The extension, keeping the longest-tenured Flame around through 2025-26, has an average annual value (AAV) of $4.5 million.

The Flames introduced Backlund as team captain during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“It was a big decision for me and my family, and we wanted to take our time, make the right decision,” Backlund said.

After a summer of questions about his future with the franchise, Backlund said once he returned to the Flames for training camp, he could feel a new energy in the locker room.

“It just felt really special,” he said. “I was really excited about it and felt like this is where we belong.”

The Flames drafted Backlund 24th overall in 2007. Since then, he has amassed 492 points, including 185 goals and 307 assists through 908 games with the franchise. In 2022-23, the 34-year-old scored 19 goals and 37 assists.

Backlund was joined by his wife Frida, daughter Tilly and son Oliver during the announcement.

“This is our home, this is where I’ve grown up, from being a little boy to a man, where both our kids were born, our dog at home Dexter was born here in Calgary,” Backlund said.

The new Flames captain said the 2022-23 season was frustrating and it was difficult to see former general manager Brad Treliving and former head coach Darryl Sutter leave the organization, but he was excited to see some familiar faces promoted to fill those key roles.

New head coach Ryan Huska coached Backlund for one season in the WHL and has been with the Flames organization since 2014. General manager Craig Conroy and Backlund played together for the Flames from 2009 to 2011.

”I couldn’t find a better person than Mikael,” Conroy said.

“When I think about what we want our players to be like both on and off the ice, this is exactly it. You’re not going to find a better person or a better player.”

“To have him with us for this year and another two years with the extension, I couldn’t be more happy,” the Flames GM added.

Returning to a team that barely missed the playoffs last year, Backlund said he has one goal in mind for his remaining time in Calgary.

“We’re very excited to be here for the next three years and we’ve only got one mission in mind now, it’s to win here in Calgary; to bring the cup back to Calgary,” Backlund said.

While the futures of other Flames pending free agents Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin remain up in the air, Backlund hopes his decision to stay in Calgary could have a positive influence.

“They’re great players, but really good guys off the ice, really great teammates,” Backlund said. “I really hope they lean toward staying, we’ll see what happens. But hopefully me staying here can affect them in a good way.”

Entering the season with more than 900 games played, Backlund will have the opportunity to play his 1,000th NHL game over the course of his new contract. Top Stories

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