The Flames and representatives for pending unrestricted free agent center Mikael Backlund have picked up talks regarding a contract extension recently, reports Postmedia’s Eric Francis. However, Backlund himself isn’t overly thrilled that negotiations are occurring midseason:

“It’s not what I wanted, but it is what it is. I wish I didn’t have to deal with it during the season, but it’s part of business and we’re professionals and have to deal with it. Both sides want the best, so we’ll see what happens.”

The 28-year-old is certainly helping his case for a big contract whether it’s with the Flames or elsewhere for next season. He’s on pace for a second straight 50-point campaign while he’s averaging a career-best 19:15 per night, second among all Calgary forwards. Included in that is 2:25 per night shorthanded which is more than any other Flames attacker. As a result, he will be coveted not only for his offensive abilities but also for his defensive acumen.

Francis reports that Backlund is seeking a deal between $5MM and $6MM per year on a five or six-year contract, money that would come close to the pact that Kyle Turris signed upon being traded to Nashville (six years, $36MM).