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Flames re-sign Mikael Backlund

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We've been begging for it all season, and it's finally here.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames officially got the off-season underway by announcing the re-signing of no-longer-RFA Mikael Backlund. The much anticipated move finally came to fruition, as the 26-year-old Swedish centre received a three year, $10.725M contract, with an AAV of $3.575M. Backlund came off another productive year for the Flames, becoming one of the NHL's best kept secrets. While he lacked in points production, he was a possession monster, a penalty killer, and one of the reasons the Flames made the playoffs this year.

His extension in 2013-14 was more of a "prove it" deal rather than a bridge contract, and Backlund proved it. After being demoted to fourth line duty, Backlund worked his way up to the top six and has found a permanent place there. Brad Treliving acknowledged Backlund as a part of the core in his final press conference, and confirmed that the team was working towards this deal.

The deal is very well worked, keeping Backlund around for a while longer while keeping it cap friendly (not that the team needed any help being under the cap). With this contract, the Flames have ensured that they will get to keep prime Backlund around for cheap while the team gears up for a legitimate deep playoff run. With the NHL's new focus on high quality depth players, Backlund is almost the prototype of what you want for the new NHL.

Frequent readers of Matchsticks & Gasoline will know that we are huge, huge, huge fans of Backlund. The staff collectively gave him shining reviews for his report card, which is just a tiny summation of our appreciation for the Swede. We can't wait to see him again next season, but until then, these will have to do: