Mikael Backlund was born on March 17, 1989 in Vasteras, Sweden and was a first round draft pick, 24th overall, of the Calgary Flames in 2007. Backlund split much of his junior career between the J20 SuperElit and HockeyAllsvenskan in his native Sweden prior to the 2009 World Junior Championships.
After an impressive World Juniors, Backlund was summoned by the Calgary Flames, where he would appear in his first NHL game, but was quickly assigned to the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. Backlund quickly adjusted to life in the WHL, averaging more than a point a game and being named CHL Player of the Week during the WHL playoffs.
During the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season Backlund would appear in 32 games for the Flames and would continue to grow offensively, tallying eight goals and eight assists for 16 points. The following season he would appear in 76 games for the Flames, recording 18 goals and 21 assists.
Backlund would set new career-highs in goals, assists and points during the 2015-16 season. Appearing in all 82 games for the Flames, he notched 21 goals and added 26 assists for 47 points.
On the International stage, Backlund represented Sweden at the World Championship several times including in 2010, 2011 and 2014 where he brought home a silver and a pair of bronze medals.