If you were to guess who was in the top 3 in scoring for the Flames over the last 19 games, what would your answer be? I'm sure you'd guess Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and you'd be correct. But who's the third? Sam Bennett (10)? Mark Giordano (12)? Dougie Hamilton (14)? Michael Frolik (11)? Nope. It's Mikael Backlund. The Flames Center is third in scoring since the All Star Break with 15 points behind only Johnny Gaudreau (20) and Sean Monahan (18).
The Flames rewarded the young forward with a hefty 3 year contract this past off season worth $3.575 million dollars a year. That's a large sum of money for a guy who's best season was in 2013-14 where he totaled 39 points (18 & 21) in 76 games. But it seems to be paying off. Mikael Backlund is quietly putting together a fantastic season. With the scoring Calgary's top line has in Gaudreau and Monahan and it's blue line point producers in Giordano and Hamilton, it's easy to forget about Mikael Backlund. His play since the All Star Break, however, is speaking volumes. He has 10 goals and 5 assists in that time. Over that span he has 3 multi point games and has been scoring on the Power Play (2 goals and 1 assist). To highlight just how well he's been playing: In the previous 50 games he had 22 points, which included an 8 game stretch with nothing from October 17th to November 5th.
To say Backlund is hot right now is an understatement. He's on pace right now to tie or eclipse his career best of 76 games played. He's 2 points away from tying or passing his career high (39) in points. His 22 assists are a career high and his 15 goals so far this season are 3 off his career best of 18 in '13-14. And he's a career best +8 on the season. He's centering the 2nd line for the Flames, as well as the 2nd Power Play unit and got some 3 on 3 time with Gaudreau in overtime where he scored a game winner.
The Flames big guns like Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano normally grab the headlines and sell jerseys in the team stores. But if he keeps playing the way he's played over the last 19 games, Mikael Backlund could be a name fans outside of Calgary start to take notice of.
The Flames play tonight at home against the Winnipeg Jets at 10 PM ET. Check back here for your game preview, game thread, recap and Rate The Flames.