HEIGHT: 6′ 2″
Mattias Backman was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round (146th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and played his last three seasons with Linköpings HC in the Swedish Hockey League.
Last season, Backman produced twenty-one points with Linköpings in fifty-four games and the season before contributed twenty-four points in fifty-two games.
After the 2013-14 SHL season was over, Backman joined the Grand Rapids Griffins for two regular season games and ten playoff games. Backman was not able to produce in the two regular season games, but was able to tally six points for Grand Rapids in the playoffs to lead all Griffins’ defensemen.
Even with a such a small sample size, the Detroit Red Wings have been impressed with his play and are excited for his future with the Wings, which could begin next season according to Mike Babcock.
Mike Babcock joined NHL Live to talk about being named a Jack Adams finalist and slipped in a comment on Mattias Backman.
“There’s a kid named Mattias Backman… He’ll step in and play on our team next year. He can really skate, really move the puck.”
Backman will need to work hard this off-season to add strength and weight to his frame, but with Kyle Quincey being an unrestricted free agent there is an opening on the blue line for Mattias Backman to slide into.
The Red Wings are deep on the defensive side of the puck with Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Adam Almqvist, and Alexey Marchenko, but it appears as if Backman has leapfrogged all of them to become the Wings’ top defensive prospect.
There will be a major competition between those five defenders during Development Camp and Training Camp to earn a spot with Detroit and while only one will probably join the Detroit Red Wings on a full-time basis next season, all five of them will see a small amount of ice time in the NHL next season.
The full video of Mike Babcock on NHL Live.