The World Junior Championship
is less than a week away and the Swedish players are currently preparing themselves
for the tournament. Below is a preview of all the Swedish players. Note that there
may still be some roster changes before the tournament starts.
is spending his first season in the elite league. He is backing up Finnish
goalie Markus Korhonen who has played well this season leaving Lundström
with little ice time.
In the junior league Lundström has however posted good numbers on an
average team. He has played solidly in two exhibition games before the WJC
and will be the starting goalie unless something unexpected happens.
most talented Swedish goalie for some years. It’s a small sensation that
Åkerlund, born 1986, made the team. He has only played in the junior
league while there were some other candidates with SEL and Tier II experience.
Åkerlund is expected to back Lundström but we should
not be surprised if he gets to start a a game or two. Next season we will
likely find Åkerlund playing in the elite league.
|HV 71 (Juniors)||17||3.00||.903||1|
strong defenseman, Björk has been in and out
of MIF Redhawks SEL lineup this season and is currently the seventh defenseman on the team.
He is pretty all-round and knows how to use his body. He usually doesn’t
hesitate joining the rush and can contribute offensively. On this team Björk
is not among those that we can expect to log a lot of minutes on
the power play.
|MIF Redhawks (SEL)||23||1||0||1||6|
|MIF Redhawks (Juniors)||12||2||4||6||6|
the largest player on the team but definitely the most physical. Blomqvist
uses his body at every given opportunity and is a very gritty defenseman.
He has a tendency of taking foolish penalties which is something this team
can’t afford. If he can keep his coolness he’ll be a very valuable
player with his steady defensive game.
year’s rookie of the year in the SEL. Enström has missed some
games this season because of an injury but is now recovered and has performed
pretty well with MoDo in the SEL. He is playing on the first pairing with
former NHLer Hans Jonsson. Enström is a very complete defenseman with
great hockey sense, good skating and a fine passing game. He can be used
in all game situations and plays a good two-way game. We can expect Enström
to play a lot on the power play.
opted out of the draft this past summer after a season ruined by injuries.
This year he has been a sensation in the SEL with Luleå. Starting
the season as the seventh or eighth defenseman on the team he is now top 3 or top
4 on the team. Fransson is a terrific skater; he is very strong on the puck
and has a good release as well as a fine playmaking ability. The last big
defenseman that came out from Luleå was Mattias Öhlund and we
can expect Fransson, who will most likely get drafted in the first round
next summer, to become a high caliber NHLer.
is one of those defensemen that you can always expect to do a good job.
He plays solidly in his own end and always chooses the best way to deliver
the puck. Johnsson works hard, has a great attitude and is not afraid to
use his body either.
It’s just a matter of time before we’ll find him playing in
|Mora (Tier II)||29||1||2||3||10|
smallish and speedy defenseman. Skogs is quite entertaining to watch being
a fast skater and having fine technical skills. He is also very responsible
defensively and has currently the best +/- in the second tier league (+17,
in the south division). Skogs can also be valuable offensively and needs
three more points to match his career year, 3+3 points from last season.
|Mora (Tier II)||32||2||2||4||20|
left MoDo’s junior team after last season and is now a major factor in the
second tier league with Björklöven. He plays a very good offensive
game and is good at moving the puck. Sondell is also a strong skater and
should at the very least become a good SEL defenseman in the future. There
are still some aspects that could use some improvements such as his defensive
game, but if he continues playing this well he’ll soon leave Björklöven
for the SEL.
is arguably the best defenseman in the Swedish junior league this year.
He has been considered a top prospect for many years but did not take that
huge step forward last season that many had expected. This year he is however leading
Frölunda from the blueline and putting up good numbers. Täng
is a strong skater, has exceptional hockey sense, a mighty strong passing
game and he is responsible in both ends of the ice.
gifted center drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks drafted this past summer, Andersson
plays for Troja-Ljungby and is among the top players on the team despite
his young age. He has good size, plays an aggressive game and is pretty
good offensively. He can put the puck in the net as well as deliver crisp
passes. Andersson is not a terrific skater but makes up for it thanks to
his hockey smarts.
the most physical forward on the team. Blomdahl is an excellent hitter,
has good size and is not easy to push around with. He is having a good year
with AIK in the second tier league and getting good icetime. He has scored
8 goals this season and has a pretty good scoring touch. Blomdahl is along
with Marcus Jonasén the closest thing to a power forward on the Swedish
|AIK (Tier II)||29||8||3||11||40|
is a winger with sniper instincts. He is very explosive and dangerous when
he is in control of the puck. Danielsson has also has quick feet and works well
in the offensive zone. One could think that he is a bit one-dimensional
but he is quite responsible defensively and has been killing penalties for
the Swedish junior team earlier this season. He’ll be playing with
Frölunda players Loui Eriksson and Fredrik Johansson. That line has
clicked in previous tournaments and these players are expected to score
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role player on this team, Eckerblom has been dressed for most of Djurgården’s
games in the SEL this season but often has he seen limited icetime. He
is defensively very responsible and works hard. Eckerblom is drafted by
the Minnesota Wild but is still several seasons away from possibly challenging
for a roster spot. If there is no lockout we can expect him to become a
regular with Djurgården next season.
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Eriksson is the third youngest player on the team, he is an essential piece
of Sweden’s offense and scoring. The 18-year-old Frölunda player
has had a very good rookie season with Frölunda and been praised by
his coach and the media. Eriksson is very all-round but at a very first
glance his strong skating and excellent hockey sense stands out. He is quite
the scorer as well and also responsible defensively.
A steal by Dallas when they drafted him in the second round of the 2003
NHL Entry Draft.
San Jose, #236
will not be going to Finland unless there is an injury on the Swedish team.
Both Marcus Jonasén and Patric Blomdahl have had problems with injuries
and therefore Hulth is likely to replace one of them.
He is a smart center with good size who works hard and is strong on
the puck. Hulth can set up plays and is creative when he gets some free
space on the ice. On this team he is more of a role player though.
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|Oskarshamn (Tier II)||29||2||7||9||2|
is playing his first season in the Swedish Elite League and has despite
not putting up any significant numbers played convincingly. He is a smart
two-way center with good defensive skills and a strong passing game. He belongs
to the Edmonton Oilers and the main concern right now for Johansson is to
get stronger. Johansson was the leading scorer in the Swedish junior league
last season scoring 13 goals and 34 assists in 30 games.
NY Rangers, #81
only Swedish player on the team not playing in Sweden. Jonasén has
been playing well as a rookie with Tri City in the WHL and scored 11 goals
and 9 assists in 27 games. He is a very aggressive player and chases the
puck hard. Jonasén has great size and at the same time he is a good
skater. He is responsible in both ends, uses his body a lot and is expected
to score some goals for Sweden.
of the big surprises on the Swedish team. Kalgoum is a rather unknown player
that this season has played well with Huddinge in the second tier league,
his first season with the seniors. He is very smart and a faceoff specialist.
Kalgoum is also strong defensively and is valuable for his attitude and
excellent work ethic.
|Huddinge (Tier II)||31||4||7||11||36|
5’9” tall, is the smallest player on the Swedish team. His offensive
game is however not small. Meijer is dangerous with his fine skating and
technical skills. He can create scoring chances all by himself and has a
nose for the net. His size could possibly be a concern for him in the tournament.
He is not a soft player but against tough international competition he could
have some problems advancing from the boards towards the net.
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|HV 71 (Juniors)||10||4||9||13||4|
NY Islanders, #15
Islanders first pick in the 2003 Draft has had a very disappointing season.
It started with Nilsson not having a very good preseason and although starting
on Leksand’s second line in the SEL he was shortly demoted to the
third and then the fourth line as he was unable to produce offensively.
The last month or so Nilsson has however started contributing and actually
scored some goals. In this environment Nilsson should still be very effective
with his excellent playmaking ability and creativeness with the puck.
most interesting forward that is eligible to get drafted 2004, Salmonsson
is the only player born 1986 who is a regular in the Swedish Elite League.
He has mostly been playing on Djurgården’s fourth line and has
already, despite not getting a whole lot of icetime all the time, displayed
a very impressive skill set. Salmonsson has quick feet, he is a good scorer,
a fine passer and he has good size. A potential top 20 pick in the draft
|Almtuna (Tier II)||2||0||0||0||0|
|Steen is the|
captain, the leader and along with the goalies, the MVP of this team. He
started this season as a talented prospect but is now a star in the elite
league. He is as complete as they come and has no glaring weaknesses. Offensively
Steen can do it all. He is a terrific passer; he can put the
puck in the net, as well as be tough and agitate the defensemen. In his
own end Steen also knows what to do and always makes the correct decisions.
This could very well be his last season in the SEL for quite a while since
he should be NHL ready after the summer.
Washington Capitals drafted Valdix after his quite impressive rookie season
with MIF last year. This season Valdix hasn’t really taken the next
big step in his development and become a good offensive player in the SEL.
But he has a lot of talent and skill and there’s no question that
he’ll soon be one of the key players in MIF. Though Valdix really
needs to get stronger, he still plays well through heavy traffic.
He has a good skating technique and can shoot as well as pass the puck.
|MIF Redhawks (SEL)||30||2||1||3||4|
|MIF Redhawks (Juniors)||5||2||1||3||0|