Backman led the Bulldogs in scoring as a freshman
and reminds some observers of former Boston College
standout Ryan Shannon.
Key Statistics: The Bulldogs’
most valuable player and ECAC Hockey’s co-rookie
of the year as a freshman, Backman recorded 18 goals
and 13 assists (31 points) in 29 games. He led the team
with six power-play goals and two short-handed goals.
What He Does: Backman bears a resemblance
– both physically and the way he plays –
to former Boston College Eagle and current Vancouver
Canuck Ryan Shannon (also a Connecticut native). That’s
great news for Yale fans, at least in terms of his style
of play. We’ll leave it to Yale coeds to judge
his appearance. At only 5-foot-8, Backman’s success
depends upon his speed and acceleration, both of which
are at an elite level. He’s also the son of a
former NHLer, Ranger Mike Backman, and he displays the
hockey sense that you would expect with those bloodlines.
The Bigger Picture: Backman admits
to having been nervous entering last season with a first-year
head coach, Keith Allain, who didn’t recruit him.
But the newcomer from nearby Cos Cob, Conn. fit in immediately,
earning ice time in every situation. He had points in
13 of his first 16 games and didn’t tail off at
the end of the season, recording 13 points in his last
nine games. With a year of experience – both for
Backman and Allain – Bulldog fans can expect even
better results from their leader and their team in 2007-08.
Backman on his game: “Skating
has always been one of my strengths. Being a small guy
I’ve had to rely on that. And I think I can shoot
the puck pretty well too.”