Sweden Under-18 Tourney player preview

By Johan Nilsson



Untitled Document

The Under-18 Championships starts tomorrow and Sweden will play team Canada in the opening game. Below is a preview of all
the Swedish players.

GOALTENDERS

Birth:07.02.86
Daniel
Larsson

#1

Catches:Left
Height:5’11”
Weight:165 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

The back-up goalie on this team, Larsson started the season with Luleå in the Swedish U20 league but saw little starting time and moved to Boden in the second tier league. He played one game with Boden during the regular season.

Team (League)GPGAASVS%SO
Boden (Sweden II) 13.00.9010
Luleå U20 (Juniors) 43.01.8950

Birth:25.04.86
Magnus

Åkerlund
#1

Catches:Right
Height:6’1″
Weight:183 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

The most talented Swedish goalie since Henrik Lundqvist. Åkerlund was a member of the Swedish U20 WJC team in 2004 and has all the tools to become a very good goaltender in the future. He was among the best goalies in the junior league this season and covers the net very well. Åkerlund, who catches right, will have to be on top of his game in this tournament.

Team (League)GPGAASVS%SO
HV 71 U20 (Juniors)263.28.8921


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DEFENSEMEN
————

Birth:05.03.86
Niklas
Andersson
#2

Shoots:Right
Height:6’1″
Weight:187 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

A very smart defenseman with soft hands. He has been a key player for the Swedish junior team throughout the season and has also had a very good season with Brynäs in the junior league, earning him a brief call-up to the SEL club. Andersson has a good release and great hockey sense. He will most likely see some ice-time with Brynäs in the elite league next season.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Brynäs (SEL)20000
Brynäs U20 (Juniors)3245926

Birth:19.03.86
Emil
Axelsson
#8

Shoots:Right
Height:6’3″
Weight:200 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Axelsson scored four goals during the regular season with Örebro in the second tier league. He has great size and is quite physical and even a bit dirty. Furthermore he is a strong skater, doesn’t hesitate to join the rush and has a good release from the blue.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Örebro (Sweden II)4240483

Birth:28.01.86
Richard

Demén-Willaume
#5

Shoots:Left
Height:6’3″
Weight:198 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Demén-Willaume uses his great size and is a very steady two-way defenseman. He is mobile, a good stickhandler and has an accurate slap shot. This season he became more and more defensive the longer the season went, but is still gifted offensively. He combines a strong passing game with good positioning on the ice.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Frölunda U20 (Juniors) 35671322

Birth:09.11.86
Carl
Gunnarsson
#26

Shoots:Left
Height:6’2″
Weight:170 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2005

Gunnarsson, like Emil Axelsson, has been with Örebro in the second tier league this season and played convincingly. He is very responsible defensively. At 6’2″ Gunarsson is the third tallest defenseman on the team but he is not a powerhouse weighing merely 170 lbs. He is still very strong along the boards and around the net and has had no problems playing against men in the second tier league.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Örebro (Sweden II) 4304416

Birth:21.04.86
Oscar

Hedman
#25

Shoots:Left
Height:6’0″
Weight:209 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

The number one defenseman on the team. The leader or the “quarterback”. Will get a lot of ice time on the power play and in shorthanded situations. Hedman is very solid all-round, and his passing game stands out the most. He uses his size and is very mobile, combining courage, heart and brains. He is the only player on the team that has seen quality time in the SEL. He was also the youngest goal scorer in SEL this season. He scored 18 points in 25 games during the regular season in the junor league and had most points in the playoffs among defensemen, 6 points in 8 games – and led MODO’s U20 team to the gold medal.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
MODO (SEL) 241236
MODO U20 (Juniors)257111828
MODO U18 (Juniors) 33142

Birth:16.01.86
Marcus
Nyberg

#9

Shoots:Left
Height:6’0″
Weight:181 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

A speedy defenseman with fine technical skills, Nyberg did not stand out as much in the Swedish junior league as the rest of the defensemen on this team but his play with the national team has more or less been flawless. Nyberg is not very strong physically and that is something he must work on. He’s a gifted defenseman with a bright future ahead of him.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Luleå U20 (Juniors)3023518

Birth:08.05.86
Tobias
Viklund
#16

Shoots:Left
Height:5’11”
Weight:185 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Viklund plays a tough and physical game and is a great skater. He is very good on the power play where he is dangerous when using his great slap shot. He is also very responsible in his own end and takes care of his defensive responsibilities. A complete defenseman whose size is his only downside.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
MODO U20 (Juniors) 36741124
MODO U18 (Juniors)43034

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FORWARDS
———-

Birth:30.04.86
Jesper
Andersson
#12

Shoots:Left
Height:6’0″
Weight:181 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Andersson is a two-way center that can be used on the wing as well. He is very good defensively and contributes offensively as well. He has soft hands and is a strong passer, a smart and tactical player that could get some shifts with MODO in the elite league next season.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
MODO U20 (Juniors) 31106166
MODO U18 (Juniors) 21234

Birth:07.03.87
Nicklas
Bergfors
#23

Shoots:Right
Height:6’0″
Weight:190 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2005

The top Swedish player born in 1987, Bergfors has had an excellent season. He was among the very best forwards in the Swedish U20 league averaging a point per game against players three to four years older. He also played for five games for the junior B team where he scored amazing 14 goals and 4 assists in five games.

Bergfors is the most gifted player offensively on this team and is pretty much as all-round a player can be. He is a very good skater, has fine technical skills, is a good scorer and a passer and he doesn’t mind using his body.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Södertälje U20 (Juniors) 3113173022
Södertälje U18 (Juniors) 5144184

Birth:30.07.86
Tommy
Enström
#14

Shoots:Left
Height:5’10”
Weight:172 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Probably one of the best skaters in the whole tournament, Enstrom has great speed and great technique. He scored 27 points in 42 games (regular season + playoffs) and was the second best scorer on the team despite his young age. He had an excellent playoff run and was a major factor behind MODO’s championship win.

Tommy is the younger brother of Tobias Enström, drafted by Atlanta Thrashers in 2003.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
MODO U20 (Juniors) 419112038

Birth:21.06.86
Martin
Gudmundsson

#27

Shoots:Left
Height:5’11”
Weight:178 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Gudmundsson is a bit on the small side but very gifted offensively. He has a good puck control, great hockey sense and a nose for the net. Gudmundsson is the highest scoring junior league player on this roster as he amassed 17 goals and 18 assists in 36 games for Mora. Next season he will most likely play against men in the Swedish second tier league, if he is not promoted to the SEL, that is.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Mora (Sweden Tier II) 41012
Mora U20 (Juniors) 3617183544

Birth:18.06.86
Mattias
Hellström
#4

Shoots:Left
Height:6’0″
Weight:188 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

One of the most important players on the team, Hellström is a two-way center who will be used in shorthanded situations as well as on the power play. He is a very good playmaker and strong in faceoff situations. He is as tough as they come and hardly ever loses any battles. Strong in corners and really smart. Coach Thelin has praised Hellström as one of the most important players on the team.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
MODO (SEL)20000
MODO U20 (Juniors)3559146
MODO U18 (Juniors) 42570

Birth:19.09.86
Sebastian
Karlsson
#22

Shoots:Left
Height:6’0″
Weight:187 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2005

A two-way center and an elegant skater, Karlsson is a very good playmaker and excellent faceoffs. He is also a very reliable in his own end and is without a doubt one of the key players on this team. Sebastian is Jens Karlsson’s younger brother, drafted by the Los Angeles Kings.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Frölunda U20 (Juniors) 357192653

Birth:16.03.86
Viktor
Lindgren
#20

Shoots:Right
Height:5’10”
Weight:171 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

A quite flashy player with good offensive instincts, Lindgren hasn’t been as good as expected in the league play this season and was likely among the last ones to make the team. There is still a lot of raw potential and skill in him and he should become a consistent scorer in the future.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Luleå (SEL)30000
Luleå U20 (Juniors) 336111712

Birth:11.04.86
Marcus
Niemi
#10

Shoots:Right
Height:5’10”
Weight:178 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

A big surprise to make the team, at least for the public, Niemi plays a very responsible game. He is excellent at reading the play and is a strong skater. He will most likely be used in shorthanded situations. At the same time he can contribute offensively as well with a good passing game and a fine scoring touch. An underrated player.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
HV 71 U20 (Juniors) 33159244

Birth:11.02.86
Fredrik

Näslund
#11

Shoots:Right
Height:6’4″
Weight:206 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004
The largest player on the team. Näslund saw plenty of senior action with Västerås this season and should be a regular next season. He also played for Västerås’ U18 team where he dominated in an impressive way. Näslund is very tough to stop and has a good scoring touch. On the downside his defensive game is not too good and a he is a bit one-dimensional.
Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Västerås (Sweden Tier II) 322460
Västerås U18 (Juniors)141215276

Birth:12.05.86
Niklas
Olausson

#21

Shoots:Left
Height:6’0″
Weight:198 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Olausson has been putting up very impressive numbers in the Swedish third tier league this season. Once described as a rather one dimensional player Olausson has developed his game in the defensive zone and is now rather complete. He is rumoured to sign with SEL team Linköping.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Tingsryd (Sweden Tier III) 3211233412

Birth:22.10.86
Oscar
Sundh
#18

Shoots:Left
Height:6’2″
Weight:186 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2005

Sundh is a strong skater with good size. He was injured at the beginning of the season but came back and became a regular in the Swedish 2nd-tier league. He was also called up to Djurgården in the SEL during a shorter stint. Sundh’s skating is his main strength, but he is also an above average stickhandler and has a good wrist shot.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Djurgården (SEL)30000
Almtuna (Sweden Tier II) 296398

Birth:29.01.87
Tom
Wandell
#15

Shoots:Left
Height:5’11”
Weight:166 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2005

Wandell has likely the best technical skills on the team. He is the only player born 1987 along with Nicklas Bergfors. They played on the same line in the junior league and have great chemistry. Wandell has great hockey sense and has been setting up fine plays with Södertälje as well as with the Swedish U17 team.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Södertälje U20 (Juniors) 337152214
Södertälje U18 (Juniors) 657126

Birth:01.01.86
Fred
Wikner

#17

Shoots:Left
Height:6’1″
Weight:186 lbs
Drafted:Eligible 2004

Wikner is the most physical forward on the team. He loves to throw his body around in high speed and is a strong skater. Wikner was a bit inconsistent with Frölunda this season. Some games he shined while he was more or less invisible other times. Will be valuable with his strong physical game and his willingness to drive to the net and do the rough work.

Team (League)GPGATPPIM
Frölunda U20 (Juniors) 36961567


Anders Östberg contributed to this report.