MAJOR: Flames Punish Veteran By Stripping Him of His Letter

Published September 21, 2023 at 4:57 PM

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What Is Going On in Calgary?!

The Calgary Flames are about to get their 2023-24 regular season underway, and this year's player headshots are causing a bit of a stir, at least in the case of Michael Backlund.


Curiously, however, the veteran Swedish centre who's spent his entire NHL career in Calgary seems to have his assistant captain tag removed, as he's been pictured wearing a jersey without a letter on it.

Nothing More Than a Smokescreen?

At first glance, it appears as if the Flames organization is punishing Backlund — who's been frequently named in trade rumours as of late, as he'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer — by not giving him a letter this season. However, Flames fans have pointed out that some years the letters on their jerseys are visible during picture day, while other years their jerseys don't have letters on them at all even if they serve as captain or assistant captain.

In any case, it seems as if Backlund — a former first-round draft pick by the Flames all the way back in 2007 — isn't being ruled out for the team's captaincy. The team hasn't named a captain since Mark Giordano's departure in 2021, and played with four assistants last year: Backlund, Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm, and Chris Tanev. (Rasmus Andersson is also rumoured to be a contender for the captaincy.)

Backlund has also expressed his desire to become the team's next captain, even if his future in Calgary remains unclear given his impending free agent status after this coming season.