Now before all the Colin Patterson fans and family members jump down my throat here, I want you to know that this was one of the harder numbers to decide on. Patterson had a solid career with the Flames and was a member of the 89 Stanley Cup Championship team. His numbers were pretty average, but when it came down to brass tax, Mikael Backlund has had the better career so far and deserves to hold the mantle of “best Flames player to wear the #11.” Go ahead, yell, send me hate tweets. It’s fine.
Backlund has been a member of the Calgary Flames going on 13 seasons and while it took him some time to get his footing, he’s been one of the most consistent and reliable Flames in recent history. The former 1st round pick (#24) has been a leader in not only the offensive end of the ice, but his two way game and standout play on the penalty kill has been nothing but outstanding. So much so that the Flames Associate Captain has been Selke worthy for four straight seasons.
Backlund has played in 690 games and racked up 365 points along the way. Now, those numbers might not blow you off the page, but when you realize that he’s produced 302 of those points in the last eight seasons, you’ll really start to see how good of player Mikael Backlund has become. He hasn’t had a season under 45 points in the last five years and all 14 of his career SHG have come since he took off on this statistical upswing starting in 2013-14.
Backlund has also been a steady presence in the playoffs, despite being on some not so great Flames teams over the years. During his 12 year career he’s only played in 30 post season games and has an even seven goals and seven assists. Compare that with Patterson who played in 72 games over a seven years where Calgary made the playoffs and had 27 points. When you do the math, Backlund has played in less that half the games and has just about half the points. Now you can’t make the prediction that if Backlund played in the same amount of games they’d have the same numbers, but Patterson did play in Calgary during the golden years when the team was stacked.
The twelve years that Mikael Backlund has played in Calgary have taken him from a young kid who took some time to find his place with the franchise to a confident leader who is 8th all time in game played (690), 3rd in SHG (14), 6th in GWG (29) and 6th in shots (1574).
Other Players Having Worn #11 In Flames History
Leon Rochfort (1973-74), Bill Hogabomb (1973), Claude St. Sauveur (1976), Bob MacMillan (1978-82), Al MacInnis (1982), Bobby Lalonde (1982), Steve Christoff (1983), Colin Patterson (1984-91), Gary Leeman (1992-93), Chris Lindberg (1993), Kelly Kisio (1994-95), Pat Conacher (1996), Eric Landry (1998), Jeff Shantz (1999-2002), Stephane Yelle (2003-07), Owen Nolan (2008), Niklas Hagman (2010), Fredrik Sjostrom (2010)
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Is Mikael Backlund the best Flames player to wear the #11?
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