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Flames sign Backlund to 2-year extension, name him captain

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The Calgary Flames announced a two-year extension for Mikael Backlund on Tuesday and also named him the 21st captain in franchise history. The deal is worth $4.5 million per season.

"Mikael Backlund is our captain. He has been our captain for some time. Today we are excited to extend Mikael for two more seasons and officially add the captaincy to his jersey," general manager Craig Conroy said.

"We look forward to his continued leadership on the ice, in the locker room and in our community."

Backlund was entering the final year of his contract before hitting unrestricted free agency. The 34-year-old signed a six-year, $32.1-million deal with the Flames in 2018.

He was one of several key players on Calgary's roster set to enter the 2023-24 campaign on an expiring contract. Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, Nikita Zadorov, and Chris Tanev are all eligible to sign extensions as well.

Backlund reportedly said over the summer that he wanted to play out the upcoming season before committing to a new deal with the Flames, but he reversed course after seeing how the club operated under new head coach Ryan Huska.

Backlund said in a statement that he's proud to be the leader of the "historic franchise."

He added: "I'm ready for the responsibility that goes with wearing the 'C' and I'm surrounded by a strong leadership group in our locker room that will help us take the next step toward winning the Stanley Cup."

The Flames haven't had a captain since Mark Giordano was selected in the Seattle expansion draft.

Backlund has played his entire 15-year career with Calgary after being drafted 24th overall in 2007. He posted a personal-best 56 points last season and maintained his status as one of the league's top defensive centers, finishing in the top 10 of Selke Trophy voting for the third time in the past seven seasons.

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