Heat’s Backlund named Player of the Week

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Abbotsford Heat center Mikael Backlund has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 28, 2010. In three games for the Heat, Backlund recorded two goals, four assists and a plus-6 rating.

Backlund began the week by setting up two goals, including the game-winner, in a 3-2 decision over Bridgeport on Wednesday evening. His second-period marker sparked an Abbotsford comeback from two goals down on Friday and helped the Heat to a 5-4 shootout win at Worcester. And on Saturday, Backlund registered one goal, two assists and a plus-4 rating in a 4-3 win over the Sharks as the Heat wrapped up a nine-game road trip with an 8-1-0-0 record.

In recognition of his achievement, Backlund will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Heat home game.

A first-round draft choice (24th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 2007, Backlund has recorded 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 54 games for Abbotsford this season, good for second on the club in scoring. He has also appeared in nine NHL games with Calgary, notching a goal and an assist. The 20-year-old rookie won silver medals at the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships skating for his native Sweden.

Other nominees for Reebok/AHL Player of the Week include Adirondack right wing Jason Ward, Albany left wing Chris Terry, Binghamton left wing Josh Hennessy, Bridgeport left wing Jeremy Reich, Chicago defenseman Jamie Hunt, Grand Rapids center Justin Abdelkader, Hamilton center Ben Maxwell, Hartford right wing P.A. Parenteau, Hershey center Steve Pinizzotto, Lake Erie right wing Darren Haydar, Lowell center Ben Walter, Manitoba right wing Sergei Shirokov, Milwaukee goaltender Mark Dekanich, Norfolk left wing Juraj Simek, Peoria center Nicholas Drazenovic, Portland defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani, Rochester left wing Mike York, Rockford right wing Jack Skille, San Antonio center Kyle Turris, Syracuse center Derek MacKenzie, Texas right wing Mathieu Beaudoin, Toronto left wing Kyle Calder, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton right wing Chris Conner and Worcester left wing T.J. Trevelyan.

Also see: Past winners, AHL Player of the Week