The Erie Otters have sent a trio of players to this year's World Junior Championship, the most well-known of the three being Team Canada center, Connor McDavid. But Team Sweden sports the other two Otters taking part in this tournament, with one of them being forward Andre Burakovsky.
After the heroics provided by current Ottawa Senators forward Mika Zibanejad at the 2012 World Junior Championship, when he broke in alone on Team Russia’s net in overtime and deked out Russian goalie Andrey Makarov to decide the tournament in Sweden’s favor, Team Sweden faced a pre-tournament rash of injuries on its way to Ufa in 2013. The team nonetheless went about gaining a silver medal against a USA squad that has become somewhat of a nemesis at various international levels in recent years. Now, Sweden's 2014 WJC entry is entering the tournament, hosted by the country’s third largest city of Malmö, with only one goal on its mind: taking gold on its home turf.
Unable to create many opportunities for young players, Czech youth hockey is slowly losing influence. The system has been collapsing, with the main problems being economics and training methods. It's no wonder that talented Czech players try their luck abroad, not just in Canada or the United States, but also in Sweden, a country that has recently produced loads of big-time NHL prospects.
Oscar Dansk’s journey in life has taken him from Sweden to the U.S., back to Sweden, and now finds him holding down the fort in between the pipes in Erie, PA. And the Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect is hoping that his next journey will be with his Otters’ teammates deep into the OHL playoffs.
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.