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MATTIAS BACKMAN
Mattias Backman
Position: Defense
Shoots: Left
Vitals: 6’2” / 176 lbs.
Birthdate: October 3, 1992
Hometown: Linkoping, Sweden
Acquired: Detroit’s seventh choice (146th overall) in the 2011 draft
CSS Ranking: 39th European skater (2011)
Contract: 2016 via CapGeek.com
RWC Says: Two-Way Defenseman

STORIES

AWARDS
  • 2013-14 Swedish Hockey League best plus-minus (plus-26)

HISTORY
2010-11
  • Spent most of season at Swedish J-20 SuperElit level with Linkoping (27-2-18-20).
  • Also appeared in six Swedish Elite League games with Linkoping but did not record a point.
  • Didn’t get much exposure to scouts due to absence from Swedish national teams.
  • Selected in the fifth round (146th overall) by the Red Wings in the 2011 draft.
2011-12
  • Quickly became Swedish Elite League regular with Linkoping (42-1-7-8, plus-7, 60 shots).
  • Finished sixth among Linkoping defensemen with 16:21 TOI per game, credited with just four hits.
  • Won a gold medal with Sweden at the IIHF world junior championship (6-0-3-3, plus-5, 14 shots).
  • Started the WJC as a spare and finished it logging top-pairing minutes in all situations.
2012-13
  • Returned to Linkoping for second Swedish Elite League campaign.
  • Emerged as top-three defender along with ex-NHLers Magnus Johansson and Niclas Havelid.
  • Finished eighth among Swedish Elite League defensemen in scoring (52-2-24-26, 67 SOG, plus-5).
  • Averaged 20:06 per night, third on team, but had just five hits, lowest on team among regulars.
  • Helped Linkoping go two rounds in Swedish Elite League playoffs (10-2-4-6, 15 SOG, plus-6).
  • Saw time with Swedish national team during season but didn’t crack IIHF world championship roster.
  • Signed three-year entry-level contract with Red Wings in late May.
2013-14
  • Returned to Linkoping for his third full SHL season.
  • Led SHL with a plus-26 and T13th in SHL defense scoring (54-6-15-21).
  • Also logged average of 18:53 in TOI, second among Linkoping defensemen.
  • Also recorded a team-high 44 blocked shots and 68 shots on goal.
  • Credited with just four hits, lowest on the team among regulars.
  • Helped Linkoping get to the SHL semifinals (14-0-7-7, plus-4, 21 shots).
  • Saw time on the Swedish national team at several tournaments throughout season (8-1-1-2).
  • Joined Grand Rapids at end of AHL regular season and for playoffs.
  • Shined in playoffs after injury to Adam Almquist (10-1-5-6, minus-6, 12 shots).

SCOUT COMMENTS
“He’s very mobile, he thinks the game well, he keeps the game simple, he has a very good first pass, and he can also skate the puck out of trouble.” — Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson (June 2011) … “The thing we liked most is that his skating ability is very, very good, and he’s always skating with his head up and making the right play at the right time and not over-handling it. His decision-making under pressure was very good. He played a very solid and steady game defensively and he’s always in the right position at the right time. He’s not a heavy banging defenseman but he can separate his man from the puck. He just puts himself in the right position and makes people go into bad areas.” — Red Wings scout Mark Leach (January 2012) … “He’s Alexander Edler … He’s surprising everybody. He’s coming along very nicely. He’s good-sized, he’s really mobile, he’s playing with more confidence, he’s joining the rush more, he’s more comfortable skating the puck out of his own end when he has to. Everything he does is with more authority.” — Andersson (October 2012) … “He’s a better 1-on-1 player (than last season), and that plus-minus rating tells you that. He’s good at eliminating guys. Sometimes, still, you can see the youth. He’s a bit optimistic at times — he likes to pinch down a bit too often — but he’s winning more battles and looking more experienced out there.” — Andersson (January 2014) … “Mattias has been compared a lot to Danny DeKeyser and probably rightfully so. He skates very well, he’s got a real long stick, they both have skinnier bodies and they’ve had to build up their strength to handle the rigors of pro hockey … But he’s got a real ability to get back to a puck, break it out, he can pass the puck real well, and he’s got, I think, borderline dynamic offensive ability from the blue line in. He looks like somebody — to me — that’s got a chance to play in the NHL as early as (2014-15).” — Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill (May 2014, foxsports.com) … “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.” — Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock (May 2014, NHL Live).

STRENGTHS
Extremely smooth on his skates with outstanding mobility in all directions … Veteran-like poise and vision, with the ability to lead the breakout with a crisp, smart first pass … Can also carry the puck all the way up the ice … Safe and steady, making few mistakes … Continues to get better offensively from the blue line in, with a hard shot and the ability to man the point on the power play … Positions himself well defensively and has improved his 1-on-1 play, using his long stick to break up plays … Good penalty killer … Red Wings have compared him to both Alexander Edler and Danny DeKeyser.

WEAKNESSES
Tall but very slender, something that may cause him trouble in the NHL … Finesse player who is not even remotely physical — he has been credited with just 13 hits in past 148 SHL games … Although he makes a good first pass, he can make ill-timed pinches and get caught … Lacks confidence at times and is at his best when he takes charge … Doesn’t wow you in one individual area.

PROJECTION
The Red Wings liked Backman’s size, mobility and two-way smarts on draft day, but he has since developed into one of the top dozen or so defensemen in Sweden. He’ll compete for a job with the Red Wings in 2014-15, but he could also return to the SHL for one more year. Backman projects as a top-four defenseman who can play 20 minutes a night in all situations.

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2007-2008 Linköping J18 J18 Elit 21 0 2 2 14 |          
 2008-2009 Östergötland TV-Pucken 5 0 2 2 6 |          
  Linköping J18 J18 Elit 16 3 3 6 4 |          
  Linköping J18 J18 Allsvenskan 14 2 5 7 12 | Playoffs 1 0 1 1
  Linköping J20 SuperElit 2 0 0 0 2 |          
 2009-2010 Linköping J18 J18 Allsvenskan 2 2 1 3 4 | Playoffs 3 0 0 0
  Linköping J20 SuperElit 33 4 5 9 38 | Playoffs 6 1 0 1 10 
  Linköping SHL 5 0 0 0 2 |          
  Sweden U18 (all) International-Jr 6 0 1 1 0 |          
 2010-2011 Linköping J20 SuperElit 27 2 18 20 34 | Playoffs 3 0 2 2
  Linköping SHL 6 0 0 0 4 |          
  Linköping ET 5 0 0 0 4 |          
  Mjölby HC Division 1 2 1 2 3 2 |          
  Sweden U18/19 WJAC-19 4 0 1 1 4 |          
  Sweden U19 (all) International-Jr 7 2 3 5 4 |          
 2011-2012 Linköping J20 SuperElit 6 1 1 2 0 | Playoffs 6 2 6 8
  Linköping SHL 42 1 7 8 14 |          
  Linköping ET 5 0 1 1 6 | Playoffs  
  Sweden U20 WJC-20 6 0 3 3 4 |          
  Sweden U20 (all) International-Jr 14 0 9 9 6 |          
  Sweden (all) International 4 0 1 1 4 |          
 2012-2013 Linköping SHL 52 2 24 26 34 | Playoffs 10 2 4 6
  Linköping ET 7 1 0 1 4 |          
  Sweden EHT 5 0 0 0 0 |          
  Sweden (all) International 5 0 0 0 0 |          
 2013-2014 Linköping SHL 54 6 15 21 16 | Playoffs 13 0 7 7
  Linköping ET 8 1 1 2 6 |          
  Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 2 0 0 0 0 | Playoffs 10 1 5 6
 2014-2015 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 13 0 2 2 6 |          

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com



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