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Mikael Backlund - What's the deal?

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IMO I think it has to do with a whole new team and a whole new coaching style. I think he will get on track, he has been decent, but nothing really special. Here is hoping he get going.

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It also helps to remember that this is his first season in the AHL. Consider: he's now playing against men, not boys. While he's done this in Sweden, he's not done this yet in the North American style game / rink.

There will be an adjustment period.

My guess, he's probably still about 2-3 years away from being effective in the NHL.

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Hmm... 2-3 years? If that might be the case, then why would Darryl draft him in the 1st round if it will take so long to reap the benefits?

Furthermore, looking at the 2009 Draft, Tim Erixon may also be a few years away from being effective in the NHL, but why did we draft him if we could have had Ryan O'Reilly (who is doing great, by the way) or Jordan Schroeder? Or someone else who might be closer to playing in the big leagues?

It's frustrating to understand what Darryl has running through his mind, and his vision of this club... Or maybe not?

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This is the norm.

But this should mean that another first round pick from 2004 (Chucko) ... should be ready right about now. You don't hear about him much, he played only two games with Calgary last season ... 8 points in 6 games with Abbotsford this year. ??? It was hilarious to me that so many had Backlund penciled in as starting on the first line and tearing up the NHL this year, lol.

The Flames have never had a great history of developing their talent in the minors. They should take some notes from the Sharks here in SJ. But maybe Sutter has got it right ... Calgary has a stockpile of good, young defencemen down on the farm right now.

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Hmm... 2-3 years? If that might be the case, then why would Darryl draft him in the 1st round if it will take so long to reap the benefits?

Furthermore, looking at the 2009 Draft, Tim Erixon may also be a few years away from being effective in the NHL, but why did we draft him if we could have had Ryan O'Reilly (who is doing great, by the way) or Jordan Schroeder? Or someone else who might be closer to playing in the big leagues?

It's frustrating to understand what Darryl has running through his mind, and his vision of this club... Or maybe not?

General rule of thumb is 3 years minimum before a prospect goes from First Round pick to NHL. Especially if your taken in the 20s. If you look at that first round in 2007 that holds true. Columbus took Vorachek at 7 (full time NHLer) but the next NHLer is David Perron taken a few picks after Backlund. The rest of that draft has yet to crack the NHL. Thats the norm. Sure Colorado has two rookies on their team, but also keep in mind that Colorado is in a developing stage where they can afford to give prospect's ice times. Also, come talk to people after they've played more than 8 games. We've seen tons of rookies get off to hot starts and then fizzzle out and I suspect you'll see that with Reily. I bet even the Avs would admit though that its a suprise Reily made the team.

When your drafting in the 20s your goal is not to grab the most NHL ready propsect. Its to grab the player you think is going to be the best for you down the road. Only teams drafting in the top 10 have the luxury of picking for immediate need.

   It also comes down tot he way Backlund plays the game. Backlund's best asset is his vision and hockey sense. Players that rely heavily on that skill tend to need more time to adjust becuase the change of pace to the game has a greater affect on their ability to play. He started off slow in Kelowna too, and then caught fire and played very well.

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I'm not worried at all. Abbotsford has been good for him, despite the slow start. He's learning a whole new game, a different system, and it will be a good time for him to step in when the spot opens up. Conroy and Joker are UFA's (Boyd an RFA) this summer, and Langkow a UFA in 2+ seasons. Perfect timing. Patience, young padawan. smile.gif

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He will need time to adjust, whether he is playing in the AHL or NHL. What bothers me is that he is not playing with anyone that has a similar skill level. He needs to play with players that have first line to top 6 potential in the AHL and not full time AHLers or bottom 6 energy players. Our defensemen are developing well because they have other talented defensemen to play with, but sadly this isnt the case for Backlund.

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Good thoughts so far. Certainly things I never thought of...

Zirakzigil, I share your sentiments in the sense that one would think Backlund (a highly touted prospect) would have more points in ABB if was playing with guys like Germyn, Jaffray, and Chucko... With his 1 goal in 6 games, clearly Mr. Playfair is not playing Backs where he ought to be playing...

Interesting...

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He will need time to adjust, whether he is playing in the AHL or NHL. What bothers me is that he is not playing with anyone that has a similar skill level. He needs to play with players that have first line to top 6 potential in the AHL and not full time AHLers or bottom 6 energy players. Our defensemen are developing well because they have other talented defensemen to play with, but sadly this isnt the case for Backlund. 

  

As it sounds like you have a good understanding of the lines and pairings in Abbotsford, could you please share the wisdom, and list what the typical line combinations are down there; Or let me know where to look? I find the Abbotsford Heat website a little useless for checking up on the team...

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Another thing to concider here is that Backlund Played in europe his whole life. Having just started to play in North America Last spring, one must realize that the period for adjustment will be longer then North american prospects. He quite simply didn't have the top end talent level to come in and make an impact from day one... VERY few ever do.

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Good thoughts so far. Certainly things I never thought of...

Zirakzigil, I share your sentiments in the sense that one would think Backlund (a highly touted prospect) would have more points in ABB if was playing with guys like Germyn, Jaffray, and Chucko... With his 1 goal in 6 games, clearly Mr. Playfair is not playing Backs where he ought to be playing...

Interesting...

Even if he was playing with Germyn, Jaffray or Chucko full time none of them are top 3 or even top 6 guys. We lack offensive prospects and that is going to hinder Backlunds development in the AHL. He needs some creative talented forwards to play with to continue on moving forward. Nemisz and Wahl are our best offensive potential forwards after Backlund and they are both in the WHL. After them the cupboard is pretty bare.

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Hummelj - I agree that the Heat website is about as useless as a snowblower in Punta Cana...

I usually check up on the team by keeping a tab on theahl.com when ABB is playing, there are game sheets and scoring summaries available for your perusal during and after the game. This way, you can deduce the line combinations by looking at goal scorers and helpers...

Hope that helps...

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well i agree with the 2-3 years if he came into the nhl now he could be just ok. he needs time to develop against men in the AHL. he was drafted in the first round by sutter because he was very affective in the whl he will develop to become a great player sooner or later

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well i agree with the 2-3 years if he came into the nhl now he could be just ok. he needs time to develop against men in the AHL. he was drafted in the first round by sutter because he was very affective in the whl he will develop to become a great player sooner or later
Backlund only played part of last season in the AHL. Sutter drafted him after he was one of the best players in the World Juniors.

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I watched the Heat play an exhibition game against the UBC team out here in Vancouver.  I was really excited to see what this guy had to offer.  Unfortunately I was kind of disappointed with his play.  I don't recall who he was playing with, but I do remember being surprised at how little he passed, and how many times he tried to shoot.  Not that he was hogging puck, shots are a good thing, it just wasn't what i was expecting from someone whose vision and game sense I have heard so much about.

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Thanks for trying to get a hold of some information. The Flames do a very poor job of providing updates on their prospects in general and specific news on the Heat isn't easy either, so it's nice to see that some of you are interested and trying to obtain information. Some housekeeping for those of you looking for facts. Backlund was drafted by Sutter in 2007 while playing in Sweden as a kid. He only came over to North America part way through last season and played for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, where he picked up 30 points in 28 games, including 12 goals. He then went on a prteyy good tear in the play-offf's culminating with a Memorial Cup experience. So, contray to what some have writen here, he did not play in the AHL last season at all. He did actually dress for the Flames for 1 game before being sent to Kelowna, enroute from Sweden. Also, Greg Nemisz does not play in the WHL, as was represented in this thread. He plays in the OHL. Hopefully he can crack the Canadian World Junior squad this year. He did not make it last year. Playfair is a good teacher of the game and I'm sure Backlund will develop a better sense of how to play in the pro ranks under Playfair. While the Heat may not be very deep in the offensive talent pool, he'll still learn a lot and he's still young and growing physically. Once his size and speed pick up, he'll be ready to step in. But remember, on top teams like the Flames, it still may take a while to crack the top 6. That's why it's very important he learns a 200-foot game. He will most likely get a shot at the Flames roster before he's able to contribute top-6 minutes, so he needs to be capable of playing a sound defensive game. For a point of reference, look at Dustin Boyd. He's a kid with offensive upside, but he's currently being deployed as the center for the 4th line. That could be a spot Backlund lands at some point. Even Fluery was a 4th line guy on the great Cup-winning team of 1989 when he got called up part way through the campain. It takes time to develop talent properly and we have the luxury of doing just that. Another good example of how players deevlop is Eric Nytsrom. He toiled for a few seasons in the "A" prior to becoming a fixture last year with the big club. Now, you may argue that he's not a good comparable since his skill set is more geared to defense and bottom-6 roles, however, the fact remains that he was able to grow and mature and learn the pro game before bringing him into the bigs. And, Nystrom was older when he beagn his pro career, having played at the University of Michigan for 4 years.

Nice thread, keep it up. Hopefully some insight can be provided by those in BC who follow the team locally. I am excited to see how our D-men develop under Playfair. We've got some very good prospects down there. I especially like the looks of Keith Aulie. Big, smooth skater with lots of good hockey sense. Strong captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings last season in the "dub". We saw a lot of him in the play-off's last spring when they went up against the Hitmen.

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While watching him in the pre-season with Iggy and Ollie, I saw major signs of brilliance and I mean the ability to be patient with the puck, and always make a play. He was so smooth out there. This kid is the real deal make no mistake.

He did not fair so well on the score sheet because he was quickly relegated due to his weak defensive play. Once he gets the liability aspect of his game covered he will be given a chance. As D.Sutter said, "when he is ready we will have a spot for him". 

It is no secret that since he is playing with lower level role players in the EH, they are fast tracking the harder lessons of the game so he can learn the Defensive system & eventually log key minutes for the Flames while games are close.

 

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Greg Nemisz does not play in the WHL, as was represented in this thread. He plays in the OHL. Hopefully he can crack the Canadian World Junior squad this year. 

My mistake I meant to say the CHL. WHL, OHL and QMJL are all the same thing tongue.gif

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Hello, I am an Abbotsford Heat season ticket holder and Canucks fan... sorry guys. But I am very big fan of the Heat. As you know the Heat website is not very good at all. It is down right crap to be honest. In regards to Backlund, he has been playing with Jaffrey and Lundmark. He does seem to get knocked off the puck quite a bit and seems hesitant to get hit or to go in the corners. I think he will be a great player and you can see flashes of exciting things to come. No worries, Flames fans, I only wish the Canucks had someone like this. Don't get me started on Hodgson.....

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It also helps to remember that this is his first season in the AHL. Consider: he's now playing against men, not boys. While he's done this in Sweden, he's not done this yet in the North American style game / rink.

There will be an adjustment period.

My guess, he's probably still about 2-3 years away from being effective in the NHL.

In an interview during training camp this year, Backlund was talking about his sports Psychiatrist that he was working closely with and what a great help he was ..... anyway he sounded more like a kid than a man and adjustments to the new surroundings and game was definitely the number one distraction that needed to be taken care of  before he could focus completely on his hockey development.

No problems there, he is a kid after all and up to 2-3 years of AHL could be just the thing to turn him into the next superstar for the flames.

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I can't recal if this has been said or not, but i see either him or Chucko getting a strong look for a full spot next season; Provided that they don't stink it up this year. We have Jokinen, and Connie both needing new contracts at the end of this year, and Based on Jokinen's performance thus far he is due for a pay cut, and connie may retire. Even Boyd and Prust will need new contracts at the end of the season too so there is alot of room to play with these guys. Based on this there may be an opening at Center for one of these prospects.

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I like the way backlund plays, hes smart with the puck, fairly quick which can be a positive when on the attack and he can put the puck in the net.

I think hes getting better everygame in the ahl and learns quickly and can adapt fast which could lead to a nhl start sooner then later.

If i were to compare him to any player in the nhl i would probobly go with nicklas backstrom from washington because their both highly skilled and they think alike.

ps. humme i think after a season like this id rather sign bourqe then jokinen and possible sign a lower ranked center while trading langkow and another player for a new starting center next season.

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I like the way backlund plays, hes smart with the puck, fairly quick which can be a positive when on the attack and he can put the puck in the net.

I think hes getting better everygame in the ahl and learns quickly and can adapt fast which could lead to a nhl start sooner then later.

If i were to compare him to any player in the nhl i would probobly go with nicklas backstrom from washington because their both highly skilled and they think alike.

ps. humme i think after a season like this id rather sign bourqe then jokinen and possible sign a lower ranked center while trading langkow and another player for a new starting center next season.

We're about to stry a little off topic here but i am to lazy to do anything about so here goes. haha

I have to agree with you here; although i would like to keep langkow for his experience, and his undeniable chemistry with Bourque (also he has a NMC/NTC). At this point i would like to see Bourque and lanks move up to the top line with iggy, if not this year then definetly next year. Jokinen has until the trade deadline to prove his value or he is a good as gone. His salary or one of our top 4 d-men will have to go to make room for Backlund to move up, and we will need to do some resigning that may cost us more then current calculations. One serious factor that will change this equation drasticaly will be the decision to keep Conroy, or let him retire... Beyond that, it is too early to commit to any bold moves, but I do see some serious competition coming for our top 2 centre positions.

  

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