Calgary Flames sign 18-year-old centre Mikael Backlund to contract

CALGARY – The Calgary Flames signed first-round draft pick Mikael Backlund to a contract Friday.

The six-foot, 194-pounder was selected with the 24th overall pick of the 2007 NHL entry draft.

“Mikael is one of the best 18-year old centres in the world and we are pleased that we have been able to retain him under contract,” Flames GM Darryl Sutter said in a release. “He demonstrated at the world junior championships that he is in an elite class.”

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Backlund, who played for Vasteras in his native Sweden this season, had three goals and four assists at the 2008 world junior tournament. Sweden settled for silver after losing to Canada in the final.