CALGARY - Mikael Backlund's off-season isn't starting just yet.
As he prepared to leave the Saddledome after Monday's exit meetings, the Calgary Flames centre confirmed he's accepted an invite to skate for Team Sweden at the upcoming world championship in Slovakia.
"It'll be a lot of fun," Backlund said. "It's big in Sweden. If you say no, people would be real upset. If you win the world championship, you're like heroes at home and if you lose, you play bad, then they're really miserable.
"It'll be a lot of fun and from my standpoint, it's going to be a good opportunity for another long season, play more games and just represent my country, which I love to do.
"It will be a good experience for me."
Backlund, 22, represented his country twice at the world junior tournament, winning silver in 2008 and 2009, and also suited up for Sweden's entry at last year's world championship.
In 73 outings with the Flames this season, he registered 10 goals and 15 assists. Skating between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay on the top line, he capped his campaign with four points in the final two games.
"For me, it was fun to play with Iggy and Tangs," Backlund said. "I think I picked up my game at the end of the year and played with more confidence. I think I played some really good games here at the end of the season and got a lot of confidence and I'll take that with me, going to Worlds, and work hard in the summer and come back and push for that spot again."