Photo: In 2013-14, Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm has spent time with the big club as well as the Hurricanes AHL farm team, the Charlotte Checkers (courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI)
The 2014 edition of Sweden's World Junior Championship team sports an impressive amount of talent, although perhaps not quite on a par with the team that won the WJC in Calgary two years ago. But this year's team is meeting expectations so far as they have crafted a perfect record through three tournament games.
Photo: The host country for the 2014 World Junior Championship, Sweden, has performed well so far at this WJC, going undefeated in three games including a 5-3 win over Switzerland on opening night (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
It has been an interesting 2014 World Junior Championship so far, with one major upset plus a fair amont of offense being generated, albeit with a couple of teams proving to be far more generous than most of the field competing in Malmo, Sweden.
Photo: Erie Otters forward and Washington Capitals prospect Andre Burakovsky should be an offensive catalyst for Sweden at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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.
Photo: Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm is one of several NHL prospects to be a part of Sweden’s roster taking part in the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
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.
Photo: Sodertalje forward and 2014 prospect David Pastrnak is currently tied for the team scoring lead with six goals and nine assists in 24 games (courtesy of HC Trinec)
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.