Road to WJC´s continue & Sweden names Under-18 squad

By Peter Westermark
Sweden has named the national Under-20 team that will participate in the
four nations exhbition tournament in Uddevalla, Sweden, November 10th to

The Uddevalla tournament is the last exhibition tournament before the start
of the World Junior Championships in late december. The team picked to
participate in Uddevalla will make up the core of the team that will travel
to Russia, so the tournament is a good indication of how high the
expectations should be on the Swedes.

This year´s team lack the flash that last year´s Swedish WJC entry had with
players such as the Sedin-twins and fast rising Red Wings prospect Henrik
Zetterberg. Instead, they will have to rely on a team effort.

The advantage of having more players who are regulars on their club-teams
than Swedish teams have had in previous tournaments should be a factor, and
a better finish than last year´s quarter-final exit is in the cards in spite
of the lack of star quality.

Frölunda´s Henrik Lundqvist enters the tournament as the number one
goaltender. He was drafted by the New York Rangers 205th overall last summer
and has played four games for Frölunda in the Elitserien. Johan Backlund
from Skellefteå will try to unseat him, but has a tough task on his hands.

The defense is somewhat on the small side. Four of the eight defensemen
chosen are six feet tall or shorter. The biggest defenseman is Lars Jonsson,
who is listed at 6´2, 200 pounds. The seventh overall Bruins pick is
expected to be a leader, especially offensively. Jonsson is currently a
regular on Leksand´s defense and has scored once in eleven Elitserien games.

The other Bruins 2000 first round pick, winger Martin Samuelsson also
included in the squad. Samuelsson has scored seven goals and three assists
in eight games for Hammarby in Sweden´s second league, the Allsvenskan.
Another player to keep an eye on is Frölunda´s Jari Tolsa. The Detroit
draftee has made a smooth transition to the Elitserien after starring in the
soft Swedish junior league.

Twelve players come from Allsvenskan-clubs and almost everyone of these
players hold down a regular spot with their respective club-team.

A big surprise is that Frölunda winger Jens Karlsson, a highly touted 2001
Draft prospect, is not included in the squad. Instead, another
2001-prospect, 1983-born Fredrik Sjöström made the team. Both Sjöström and
Karlsson has seen spot duty with Frölunda in the Elitserien.

Full roster can be found here.

Sweden names Under-18 squad

Coach Kjell-Rune Milton and his staff has assembled the team that will
participate in the Under-18 five nations cup in West Valley City, Utah, USA.

The team, that consists only of 1983-born players, boasts nineteen players
that are eligible for the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, should they choose to opt

Interesting names include big AIK-center Yared Hagos and 2002-eligible
Skellefteå-born MoDo winger Joakim Lindström.

Full roster can be found here.