is ranked No. 1 among Swedish prospects for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft for the first time this season. Hedman did not play for Team
Sweden in the U20 World Championships, but has played
extraordinary well the last couple of weeks. He has become a regular with MoDo in the Swedish Elite League
and arguably been the best defenseman on the team since he made his league debut.
Hedman is still waiting for his first elite league goal but has managed to collect
a pair of assists so far.
The competition for the second spot in this ranking is really tight. Carl
Söderberg has just like Hedman recently become a regular in the
top tier league and Djurgården’s young forward Johannes Salmonsson
has come off a pretty good WJC tournament. Salmonsson was however not the most
impressive Swede in the tournament, that description is more suitable for the
player ranked No. 2, Johan Fransson.
Fransson was Sweden’s top defenseman in the tournament and also managed to score
three goals. Franssons’s defensive game was earlier a question mark but he has
improved his play in his own end dramatically and is actually leading his team
Luleå with a +8.
Further down the list at No. 12 there is a new player, Albin Lorentzon,
Linköping. Lorentzon has surprised a lot of people by playing a very mature
and steady game in the SEL. He is along with Hedman and Johannes Salmonsson
the only player born in 1986 that has seen regular ice time in the top league lately.
Lorentzon’s convincing defensive play earned him a roster spot in the upcoming
U18 tournament held in Finland, February 3rd-7th.