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Report: Flames, Backlund discussing contract extension

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Flames appear to be making progress in securing one of their most important pending unrestricted free agents beyond the upcoming campaign.

Mikael Backlund and the Pacific Division squad have begun negotiating a contract extension and will continue to do so in the "near future," TSN's Chris Johnston said on Tuesday's edition of "Insider Trading."

"Backlund is in a position where he's willing to engage on a commitment, a longer-term commitment than he has remaining for this season," Johnston added.

Over the summer, the Swedish forward reportedly said he wasn't interested in talking about an extension and wanted to see how the season played out. But he apparently changed his mind after arriving in Calgary and seeing the team operate under new head coach Ryan Huska.

Backlund tied for third on the Flames with 56 points while playing all 82 games in 2022-23. He led the club in plus/minus at +24 and ranked second among all Calgary forwards in average ice time at 18:10. The 34-year-old also posted favorable underlying numbers and won 50.9% of his 1,386 faceoffs last season.

The veteran center has spent his entire 15-year career (including one game in 2008-09) with the Flames, who drafted him 24th overall in 2007. In June, he won the King Clancy Trophy, which recognizes the player that "best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community."

Backlund is entering the final season of a six-year, $32.1-million deal he inked with Calgary in 2018, according to CapFriendly.

The Flames have a slew of players whose contracts expire at the end of the campaign, including potential UFAs Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov, among others.

Hanifin also said he didn't want to talk extension earlier in the summer, but later clarified he only meant over this offseason and is willing to consider re-signing in general.

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