Photo: MODO forward and 2014 prospect Adrian Kempe has a brother playing in Sweden’s top league as well as a father coaching at a lower level of Swedish hockey (courtesy of MODO)
Sweden is a hockey country that produces first-round draft prospects every year, with the 2014 draft class being no exception. Led by top-three prospect William Nylander Altelius, the son of former NHL forward Michael Nylander, there are more talented young guns coming out of Sweden and into the big league next year. Another of those rising Swedish stars is Adrian Kempe, who is currently considered first-round material and had a great showing at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Photo: HV71 forward and 2014 prospect Kevin Fiala is looking to continue the string of Swiss prospects chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft (courtesy of Andy Mueller/freshfocus)
Luca Sbisa, Nino Niederreiter, Sven Baertschi, Mirco Mueller. Since 2008, Switzerland has had more success in the first round of the NHL Draft than Slovakia or the Czech Republic, the two countries that hosted the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and two of the hockey nations generally regarded as being stronger than Switzerland. If this trend continues, the Swiss may well surpass those two nations.
Photo: The Carolina Hurricanes’ top pick at the 2013 NHL Draft, Elias Lindholm, was the first player from Sweden off the board (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
On June 30th, Sweden saw 25 of its citizens, two of which spent this past season in North America, and a total of 26 players from its own leagues picked by NHL teams at the 2013 NHL Draft.
Photo: Kootenay Ice forward Sam Reinhart is the third of former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart’s three sons who will be looking to follow in the father’s footsteps to the NHL (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
With the 2013 NHL Draft now passed, the focus can now turn to the class of 2014. Since Beyond Tomorrow looks at those players eligible for the next draft class, this is the last opportunity to discuss the 2014 draft-eligible players before shifting attention to the 2015's. With that in mind, here is a recap of the best of the late-1995 and 1996-born players.
Photo: Djurgarden forward Alexander Wennberg has seen his 2013 NHL Draft stock rise steadily this season, to the point where he has an outside chance of being chosen among the top 10 picks (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
In recent years, the number of Swedish born-and-raised players picked by NHL teams during the NHL Draft has continued to serve as proof that the nation of Sweden is currently one of the top developers of hockey talent on the planet.