Early on Monday morning, the nominees for the 2023 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy were announced. Each year, the individual PHWA chapters of the league nominate a player from each team for the award. Eventually this list is narrowed down to three nominees and a winner is selected from there.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey. The Calgary nominees the last two years were Chris Tanev in 2022 and Milan Lucic in 2021.
Ryan Pike broke the news for the Calgary Flames nominee: Mikael Backlund.
This should come as no shock to anyone, but Mikael Backlund is simply perfect.
His journey to where he is now in his career took quite the path. After being drafted in the first round in 2007, Backlund would take a while to mature into the two way player he is today. Many wrote him off seasons ago, but he stuck with it and should remain with the Flames through the end of his career.
He recently just played in his 900th career game, all with the Flames, which makes him just the third player in franchise history to do so alongside Jarome Iginla and Mark Giordano—the latter of whom also was nominated for the Bill Masterton by the Toronto chapter of the PHWA.
There is no doubt that Backlund is the leader of this team on and off the ice. Currently 34 years of age and with one year remaining on his contract, Backlund is having a career season in terms of points with 54. Based on this season alone, it’s shocking that he has not been named captain of this franchise.
A Flames player has only won the award twice: Lanny McDonald in the 1982–83 season and Gary Roberts in 1995–96. Here’s to hoping they add a third this season.
Congratulations Mikael Backlund!
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire