While there has been some optimism in Calgary regarding the possibility of both Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin signing extensions, things appear to be more of a wait-and-see approach when it comes to Mikael Backlund. His agent J.P. Barry told TSN’s Salim Valji that there are currently no plans for discussions about Backlund or teammate Oliver Kylington. Instead, the plan is to wait and evaluate how the season progresses before holding any sort of meaningful contract negotiations.
Backlund has spent his entire 15-year career with Calgary who drafted him in the first round (24th overall) back in 2007. The 34-year-old is actually coming off his best season offensively, one that saw him put up 19 goals and 37 assists in 82 games. For his career, he has 492 points in 908 games and he has expressed a desire to reach the 1,000-game mark in a Flames uniform.
Backlund has one more year remaining on his deal, a pact that carries a $5.35MM AAV and a 21-team no-trade clause. A report surfaced last month that noted trade offers for the middleman had been particularly light in spite of his breakout year so it appears Calgary will go into the season with him anchoring the second line.
As for Kylington, the fact that no discussions are planned shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Last month, the blueliner revealed the reason for his season-long absence was due to things going on with his family which caused mental and psychological problems. Having missed that much time, it makes sense for both sides to wait and see how things go early on before pondering the idea of an extension. Like Backlund, the 26-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
When he took over as GM, Craig Conroy indicated that he wanted to avoid a situation where he could lose a key player without any return by seeing them walk in free agency like Johnny Gaudreau did in the 2022 offseason. That played a part in them moving Tyler Toffoli, another pending UFA, to New Jersey earlier in the offseason. However, with Lindholm, Hanifin, Backlund, and Kylington all appearing to want to see how things go at the start of this coming season before deciding on their willingness to extend, he won’t be getting any further clarity for a little while longer.