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World Juniors Preview: Sweden - Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012
By: Michael Gosnell

While the United States tweaks their roster that will be released very soon, I will continue preview the countries that will participate in the 2013 World Junior Championships.  

This article will preview Team Sweden, the defending gold medal winners from the 2012 World Junior Championships.

The Swedes captured their first gold medal in 31 years, defeating Russia 1-0 in overtime.

Sweden's young, talent-laden roster features 14 players who have ties to the National Hockey League and players who are eligible for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Up front, Sweden brings back exciting forwards like Sebastian Collberg, William Karlsson, Victor Rask and Rickard Rakell.

However, the player that many look to as the Sweden's biggest offensive threat is Washington Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg. The skilled two-way forward is having a decent year with Leksand, scoring nine goals and 10 assists in 22 games.

A notable absence from Team Sweden's forwards is Ottawa Senators prospect Mika Zibanejad.

Ottawa made a controversial decision to keep Zibanejad in the American Hockey League instead of allowing him to play for Team Sweden.

In addition to featuring NHL prospects, the forward group features players that one day will be drafted into the NHL.

This particular group is highlighted by Elias Lindholm, a popular choice by pundits to be taken early in the first round of the 2013 draft.

Lindholm is one of Team Sweden's top centers, along with Karlsson, and could prove to be a key player if Sweden wants to reach the gold medal game.

We could see a line of Rakell, Elais Lindholm and great skater Pontus Aberg. Another combination could be a line consisting of Forsberg, Karlsson and Collberg.

If you are Sweden, you really can do no wrong with the combination you chose to put on the ice.

Other notable draft prospects include Victor Arvidsson, who I expect to have a great tournament, Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall and Nick Sorensen.

The Swedish defense will be missing key defensive stalwarts because of injury.

Jonas Brodin and Oskar Klefbom will miss the World Juniors due to nagging injuries. Both were an integral part of Sweden's gold medal team and were a big reason why Sweden was able to inhibit Russia's explosive offense.

One of Sweden's weaknesses is the lack of strong defensive defenseman.

The loss of Brodin and Klefbom opens the door for defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Rasmus Bengtsson to eat the shutdown minutes on the blueline.  

I think Christian Djoos could play 20 minutes or more for the Swedes as well.

In goal, there is an interesting assembly of goaltenders that all could see time in the tournament.

The number one goalie, in my opinion, is Oskar Dansk, who plays for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, will log plenty of minutes between the pipes.

However, Niklas Lundstrom will get his fair share, and could potentially overtake Dansk for the number one spot.

Sweden's third option is Joel Lassinantti , who is eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

PREDICTION:

Sweden has the advantage of not being in the same group as Canada, Russia and the United States.

I expect Sweden to place first in their group, having only Finland and the Czech Republic to worry about in their group.

That said, I think Sweden will take a step back this year because of the injuries of key players and the absence of Zibanejad.

While Sweden should win their group, they will not earn a spot in the gold medal game. The will however not go home empty handed.

I have Sweden earning a bronze medal at the World Juniors by defeating the United States.

Wednesday, I will preview Russia's World Junior squad.








Discuss:

posted Dec. 18th, 2012 - 12:22pm
Michael Gosnell says:
Sweden's Roster can be found here

http://www.tsn.ca/world_jrs/feature/?id=34400

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* Article disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Michael Gosnell, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.





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