Photo: Detroit Red Wings forward prospect Mattias Janmark-Nylen (#24), shown here in action with Sweden at the 2013 Karjala Cup, has been scoring a a point-per-game clip for AIK this season (courtesy of Janerik Henriksson/AFP/Getty Images)
The first quarter of the Swedish Hockey League’s 2013-14 season has come and passed, and there’s plenty to be happy about in the scouting community. The number of young, recently drafted players currently dotting the rosters of both SHL and Allsvenskan (second highest men’s professional league in Sweden) clubs is about as impressive as ever, as professional teams continue to have little concern about going to battle with line-ups that often only feature an average age of 23-25.
Photo: 2014 prospect William Nylander will again play in the same organization as his father Michael, moving over from Sodertalje to Rogle for the 2013-14 season (courtesy of EliteProspects)
In recent years, Sweden has sent several prospects to the NHL Draft, with a few of them being chosen in the first round. After producing such potentially great prospects as Mka Zibanejad, Filip Forsberg and Elias Lindholm in the past couple of drafts, Calgary-born son of Michael Nylander, William Nylander, is heading this year's Swedish draft class. The next big Swedish gun is not Swedish-born, but he definitely has a lot of Sweden in his veins.
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.