Djurgarden prospects

By pbadmin
Djurgarden is using a new system this season, using only one defenseman and four attackers on
each line. Basically, the defenseman’s (called sweeper) job is too take defensive
responsibility. Instead of using two defenseman, Djurgarden has two centers and two forwards
called torpedos. In each formation there is one offensive center and one defensive center,
however both centers participate a lot in the play when the team has the puck. Both the
torpedos have only offensive tasks and quoting the coach Mats Waltin: “We do not want too see
the torpedos in our own zone”. Djurgarden has a very offensive approach and both torpedos on each formation forecheck extremely hard.

Of course, playing with this system also means defensive problems. Teams who specialize in
counter-attacks have so far had great success against Djurgarden and the team often has to
face 1 on 2 or 1 on 3 situations.

An example of a game where such a scenario happend is the
game between Djurgarden and Leksand on Oct.3. Djurgarden outshot Leksand 21-6 in the two first
periods, but were still down 1-3. The final score was 2-5 inspite of Djurgarden having 32
shots on goal and Leksand only 13. One of the keys to success for Djurgarden is that goalie
Tommy Soderstrom (formerly with the Flyers and Islanders) is at his best and ready to face
many odd-man attacks.

So far after 13 games, the result has been satisfying. Djurgarden has scored a league-leading
53 goals, equalling an average of 4.08 per game.


Now to the prospects in the organization.

Mathias Tjarnqvist

Born 1979. Drafted 1999 by Dallas (#96 overall).
Mathias was signed from Rogle in the Swedish
second division, where he averaged a point per game in 1998-99. Of course we expected a lot from
Mathias, but he has definitely surprised everyone with his game. Mathias is a torpedo in
the Djurgarden system and has been playing with Djurgarden’s leading scorer Per Eklund. He is a
tough player who likes to battle around the boards, but he is also a skillful stickhandler
and is the man behind many of Eklund’s 9 goals. He has fantastic vision and makes precise
passes all the time. He get’s a lot of icetime in powerplays, where he stands in front of the
net trying to obscure the goalies vision, and takes a lot of pain doing so. Mathias is
definitely going to be a strong candidate for the Rookie-Of-The-Year title with MoDo’s Mattias
Weinhandl and Lulea’s Jonathan Hedstrom. He has also impressed Sweden National Team’s
GM and will be playing with the national team in a tournament in Finland.

Stats for Tjarnqvist: GP 13, G 3, A 7, TP 10, PIM 4, -1.


Jimmie Olvestad

Born 1980. Drafted 1999 by Tampa Bay (#88 overall).

Jimmie is now entering his second season in the Elite League and is well aware of the fact
that he has to improve his game and produce more goals and assists this year. His biggest
assett is his skating. He is without doubt the fastest skater in Djurgarden. So far this year he hasn’t
lived up to the expectations and production he is capable of – he has only scored
2 goals in 13 games. One thing he has improved is his shot. Both goals he scored were with
fast wrist-shots and that’s a positive thing; last season I thought his shots were too lame.
I predict that Jimmie will need two or maybe even three seasons in the Elite League before
he can consider taking the step over to North America. He definetely has the potential, but it
might take him a couple of years to develop his skills. Olvestad will surely participate in
the WJC in Sweden this december.

Stats for Olvestad: GP 13, G 2, A 0, TP 2, PIM 10, +3.


Niklas Kronwall

Born 1981. Not drafted.

Niklas is a defenseman and is making his rookie-season in the Elite League with Djurgarden.
The competition is tough among the defenseman on the team and Niklas has so far only
participated in 2 games and sat on the bench for 2 more. He had a disasterous debut,
looked very nervous, made many bad passes and went -2. In his second game however, he really
showed his potential. His passing game was perfect and he also recorded an assist after making
a nice run from his own zone the the other end and serving Olvestad in the slot. He also
played more physical than in the first game and won many battles along the boards. Kronwall
will most likely make the WJC. Like Olvestad, he is one of only two players born in 1981 to
play with the U20 Swedish national team in the Four Nation-tournament in Finland. This talented
defenseman, who for some reason, was overseen in the 1999 draft will most likely be picked in
2000.


Stats for Kronwall: GP 4, G 0, A 1, TP 1, PIM 2, -1.


Daniel Tjarnqvist

Born 1976. Traded by Florida to Atlanta June 25, 1999.

Daniel is entering his third season in Djurgarden. His first was a success where he showed
great potential, his second was a big dissapointment. Now finally Tjarnqvist seem to
be playing the way people expect him to. Tjarnqvist is the sweeper on the first line in
Djurgarden and is logging a lot of ice time. His great skating makes it look like he’s
everywhere on the ice and he has finally started to play physical. He always plays on
special teams and can sometimes remain on the ice for a full 2-minute penalty killing.
Tjarnqvist has really been positive in all aspects of the game, with the exception of
powerplay. He is the only player on the blueline. Players feed him often to take shots, but he
has had a hard time hitting the net. His slapshot is powerful and if he would hit the net
more often, he would be one of the top scoring defenseman on the team. Daniel definitely seems
to enjoy the addition of his younger brother Mathias to the team.


Stats for Tjarnqvist: GP 13, G 1, A 4, TP 5, PIM 4, +7.