Swedish Report

by pbadmin
on

THOUGHTS ON SWEDISH FINALS

After having contributed nothing to Hockey’s Future during the last two months because of a huge amount of work thrown my direction, I now have a couple of hours free to write a column.

The finals in the Swedish Elitserien ended earlier tonight after an exciting best-of-five series where the fifth and deciding game crowned the champions – and it was the underdog team Brynäs that won 4-2 in the end after stellar play by big New York Rangers goalie prospect Johan Holmqvist. Holmqvist proved at the age of 20 that he could handle the pressure extremely well, and that he is capable of coming up with the key save at the key-moment. Hype is now running high on Holmqvist, but I think it’s deserved. Not that it’s saying that much, but Holmqvist will surely become a better goaltender than Tommy Salo. He is in my opinion the best Swedish NHL-prospect currently drafted by an NHL-club.

Through the series it became quite clear that MoDo had superior talent on their team, but Brynäs beat them with a big heart and an excellent goaltender. Brynäs are worthy champions.
Read more»

Swedish Report

by pbadmin
on

MODO LIKELY TO REMAIN AS ELITSERIEN POWERHOUSE IN 99/00

With MoDo running away with the number 1 spot in the regular Elitserien-season and them probably having the among the largest number of NHL-drafted players on their team, one has to wonder whether they will remain as strong next season, or if NHL-teams will sign MoDo’s keyplayers and have them take a shot at the NHL.

The players that have proven themselves in the Elitserien, and could make it to the NHL even next season are the following:

Hans Jonsson, D, 25, 6’2, 190, 32-3-3-6, +11, 38 PIM. Pittsburgh – 286th 1993.

A defenseman without any obvious weaknesses who is strong in his own zone. Not patricularly physical, but mature and calm with the puck. Could be able to step right in, in the NHL and be a solid 4th- to 6th defenseman. Only question is how big his desire to play in the NHL is, and how big the Penguins desire is to bring him over.

Samuel Pahlsson, C, 20, 5’11, 200, 41-14-25-29, +15, 38 PIM. Colorado – 176th 1996.

Was hyped during the summer and the pre-season as the next big star in Sweden, but started out the season struggling to score. He regained his touch after winger Magnus Wernblom returned from suspension, and is now on his way to putting up respectable numbers. He is ready physically, and can throw the occasional hit. He won’t hesitate to take a beating in front of the net either. He won’t be more than average in the NHL, but he will likely make it as a third- or fourth liner.
Read more»

Swedish Report

by pbadmin
on

JONATHAN HEDSTRÖM: A LOOK AT A LONGSHOT PROSPECT

After having covered many of the more talked about Swedish prospects in this column, it’s now high time to mention some longshot prospects. Every now and them, a long-shot prospect arrives from nowhere and makes it to the NHL.

When you’re picked 221st overall, no one – perhaps not even the management of the team that drafted you – expects you to make it. But there’s a small chance, and with enough determination you might just make it.

Determination is not in short supply for 21 year old Division 1-team Skellefteå AIK left winger Jonathan Hedström, who was picked by 221st overall by the Leafs in the 1997 Draft. After having a sub-par season by his standards in 1997/1998 (scored only 5 goals and has 5 assists in 32 games), he has emerged as a solid point-producer and leader for his team this season while playing the powerforward role that made him a regular on the team in the first place. In 29 games, he has scored 13 goals, and he has 23 assists, to go with a team-best +24 rating. To go with that he has a solid 50 PIM.

Despite the almost one assist per game average, he is not a playmaker. His assist come mainly from hard work along the boards and digging out pucks before feeding passes to his linemates. His shot is average, and that has to improve.
Read more»

Swedish Report

by pbadmin
on

Huselius and Holmkvist odd men out in Färjestad

Two of the more talked about NHL-prospects from Sweden in recent years -Panthers draftee Kristian Huselius and 1997 Mighty Ducks first rounder Mikael Holmkvist have been squeezed out of the Färjestad line-up due to the return of two veterans who played significant parts in their back-to-back Swedish championship wins in 1997 and 1998. The two who returned are small winger Patrik Wallenberg, who had played in Finland, and Peter Nordström who returned to his old club after failing miserably when trying to make it in the NHL with the Boston Bruins.
Read more»

Swedish Report

by pbadmin
on

SAME OLD STORY – SWEDES CHOKE AGAIN.

After yet another failure for the Swedish national team in the World Junior Championships, no major criticism has been directed towards the team, the coach or the players. It seems like Swedes have gotten used to constant failures and constant choking in key-games.

The way I see it, the main reason for this is a lack of emotion from the players. Swedes are always disciplined, and they know how to play a system. They usually have a couple of very skilled players too, but as a team there is not enough heart and emotion. On-ice leadership is a problem too.

Just like stickhandling or skating is a talent, heart and grit is one too. Players can improve it to a certain point, but not all players can be the best skaters, stickhandlers, and not all can have the biggest hearts on the ice either. It seems to me like Sweden has been focusing so much on the defensive side of the game, and downplayed the importance of heart, that not many Swedes show emotion on the ice. The players who defy the system-hockey and show a lot of emotion on the ice are often told to play the system first, and that the emotion is secondary. It should be the other way around. To me, having the desire to win is the single most important quality in a player and when the players with the biggest desire to win are slotted into a role with little room to lead and change momentum of a game, the heart the player will show will suffer.
Read more»