January 11, 2015
Swedish defenseman Christian Backman teased scouts with his blend of size and skill.
Backman was listed at 6'4" and 205lbs. Despite his size he played fairly politely. He was an excellent skater, blessed with power and mobility. He had a heavy shot and was adept at moving the puck out of the zone. And he blocked shots with zealously.
Yet Christian Backman never quite put it altogether. The St. Louis Blues drafted him in the 1st round in 1998 and by 2003 was a regular with the Blues. But he never seemed to be able to put together a full season under his belt, as he battled injuries such as a broken foot, shoulder surgery and a wonky wrist.
Backman's strongest season came in 2006. He was part of Sweden's gold medal Olympic squad in Turin and followed that up with a solid 2006-07 season with the Blues.
But by 2008 he was off to the New York Rangers and then to the Columbus Blue Jackets. By 2009 he was out of the league altogether, returning to Sweden to play with Frolunda until retiring in 2013.