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Backlund considering North America

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
Mikael Backlund, a first round pick and one of the Calgary Flames top prospects, is considering leaving Sweden to play in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets.

Backlund, who played for Team Sweden at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa over the last two weeks, could join the Rockets sometime this week. He must be signed by the Rockets by the WHL trade deadline this Saturday.

"We're trying to figure everything out right now. The main issue is if Calgary can properly recall him if necessary," said Backlund's agent, J.P. Barry in an interview with CanWest News Service.

Reports from Ottawa late Monday and during the gold medal game between Sweden and Canada, indicated that Flames general manager Darryl Sutter was aware that Backlund wanted to come and play in North America but was going to let Backlund decide on the situation.

The talented Backlund currently plays for Vasteras in the second tier of the Swedish Elite League. He has four goals and four assists in 17 games this season.

CanWest News reported Tuesday morning that Backlund, Barry, Sutter and Kelowna Rockets president Bruce Hamilton are slated to meet to discuss the situation and the potential move.

"We're all going to get together after the tournament and make a final decision," said Barry. "More than likely, it looks like that (joining the Rockets) will be accomplished."
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