July 30, 2007

So. | F | Cos Cob, Conn.

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.”

— Nate Ewell