Flames' Mikael Backlund More Likely To Hit Free Agency If Not Named Captain

The Calgary Flames had a tough year all around last season, but all of their problems are far from over. There are many players going into the final year of their contracts without new ones in place. One of the players they have to worry about is Mikael Backlund who was upset before last season and may very well test free agency in 2024.

MacKenzie Weegar revealed in an interview that Backlund and some of his teammates were upset that he wasn't named captain and the team felt disjointed. He is the longest serving member of the Flames and has been with the team through all the ups and downs since being drafted in the first round in 2007. He has played parts of 15 seasons for the Canadiens and put up career numbers in 2022-23, potentially partly due to his feelings towards the team/organizational decisions.

Backlund had a huge problem with Darryl Sutter as Weegar also revealed that they would get in yelling matches with each other swearing at one another. Sutter had to go as Backlund wasn't the only player with a problem with him. But the team has been without a captain since Mark Giordano went to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a team can't go without a captain for too long, even if the leadership group has been established in the dressing room already.

Backlund might not seem like the most pressing concern the Flames have to deal with as there is also Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin who need new contracts, but Backlund played a huge part in any success the team did have last season and will once again do so in 2023-24. If he's named captain, it might sway him to stick around and sign another contract.

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