Though some have called Switzerland a rising hockey power over the past few years, that ascension seems to have halted. Of course Switzerland had two Top-15 Picks over the last two years in the NHL Entry Draft, but both Nino Niederreiter (NYI) and Sven Baertschi (CAL) left Switzerland at the age of 17 and made the biggest progress in their development in North America.
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Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg just completed his second full season in the NHL and put up a career high 22 goals and 43 points in 79 games. For the first time since a U-20 performance in 2005, Stalberg was nominated to represent his native country in international play once the Blackhawks were knocked out of the playoffs. This was a nomination he didn’t hesitate to accept.
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With many wondering just how much longer Daniel Alfredsson will be lacing up his skates for the Ottawa Senators, it’s easy to understand that fans of the team are already clamoring for an heir apparent from Scandinavia’s biggest producer of NHL talent. One such candidate is Jakob Silfverberg, a player that Senators' GM Bryan Murray was ready to add to his NHL lineup last fall.
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Last summer’s second overall pick at the NHL Draft, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche, jumped straight into the NHL as many thought he might. Landeskog has traveled far in one year's time, as he now stands as a finalist for the Calder Trophy given to the NHL's Rookie of the Year.
Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
Last summer, Jonas Brodin was one of the fast risers at the 2012 NHL Draft, ultimately being taken 10th overall by the Minnesota Wild. That draft ranking came on the strength of some regular SEL play for the Swedish champion Farjestad, as well as a top-flight performance at the 2011 U18 World Championship. This past season was yet another eventful one for the 18-year-old, most especially in light of his WJC gold medal performance.
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