Team Sweden has announced 25 names for its potential 22-man roster for the World Junior Hockey Championship (WJHC) tournament. Overall, this team lacks the firepower were used to seeing from Sweden, with names like Magnus Paajarvi, Mattias Tedenby and Marcus Johansson having gone pro in North America. While I dont have notes on every prospect, I was able to cover a fair portion of the most notable players.
Player NHL Team Drafted
Patrick Cehlin Nashville 5th round, 126th overall in 2010
Jesper Fasth NY Rangers 6th round, 157th overall in 2010
Max Friberg N/A 2011 eligible
Calle Jarnkrok Detroit 2nd round, 51st overall in 2010
Carl Klingberg Atlanta 2nd round, 34th overall in 2009
Anton Lander Edmonton 2nd round, 40th overall in 2009
Gabriel Landeskog N/A 2011 eligible
Johan Larsson Minnesota 2nd round, 56th overall in 2010
Oscar Lindberg Phoenix 2nd round, 57th overall in 2010
Rickard Rakell N/A Eligible in 2011
Johan Sundstrom N/A Eligible in 2011
Jesper Thornberg N/A Eligible in 2011
Sebastian Wannstrom St. Louis 2nd round, 44th overall in 2010
Cehlin is an above average skater and puckhandler who will likely be a good secondary scorer for Sweden. Hes one of those players who is skilled, but may not be skilled enough to end up in the NHL due to a below-fringe physical game. I have heard varying opinions on his hockey sense, some describing it as a work in progress, while others complement it.
Fasth is a relative unknown whose stock has steadily risen over the last year or so. Hes a good hard-working skater with a pro-level shot and enough upside that to be able to garner power play time for Sweden.
Calle is a smart and advanced forward with plus puck skills and a decent shot. Jarnkrok will provide all-around contribution to Team Sweden. Even though his physical game is fringe at best, his high level of hockey sense allows him to consistently create offense and limit turnovers.
Klingberg is a tough as nails forward with above-average skating ability who can be a pain in the rear on the forecheck. His offensive upside isnt that great, but his shot is good enough to score at a decent rate when he gets his chances. On the negative side, Klingberg can get caught running around a little too much. In his second go-around with Swedens U-20 squad, Klingberg should be looked to for a fair share of minutes.
A player very familiar with the International scene, Lander is a fringe skater and puckhandler, but he finds ways to contribute night in and out. His hockey sense is plus if not a notch higher, and he is a very hard worker who shows no hesitation to engage in the physical game. In terms of defensive forward prospects, Lander is high up there and should log big minutes.
One of the top prospects for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Landeskogs skating, physical game and shot tools are all plus and there is little doubt about the assets the power forward brings to the table. He is a tremendous forechecker and battler and uses his big frame to his advantage. Gabriels puck skills are fringe, maybe fringe-average at best, but thats likely the sole hole in an otherwise impressive skill set that should be on display on Swedens top line.
Not the most talented player when it comes to natural skills, Larsson finds ways to contribute due to plus hockey sense and a good work ethic. He is a very good defensive forward who reads the play well. He is a good physical player too, which helps him in the corners and to be an effective faceoff man.
A decent playmaking forward who can play center and wing but is better at the former. His hockey sense is above average, allowing him to be trusted with a heavy amount of defensive minutes. The only real concern about Lindberg is his fringe physical game.
Rakell remains an under-the-radar 2011 prospectas a 1993 birthdate, hes putting up very solid numbers in the OHL. He is a fair skater who can generate good speed, but his overall skating package needs some work. He has shown he has the willingness to battle, but his frame still needs some bulking up.
Player NHL Team Drafted
Simon Bertilsson Philadelphia 3rd round, 8th overall in 2009
Jonas Brodin N/A Eligible in 2011
Klas Dahlbeck N/A Eligible in 2011
Tim Erixon Calgary 1st round, 23rd overall in 2009
John Klingberg Dallas 5th round, 131st overall in 2010
Adam Larsson N/A Eligible in 2011
Patrik Nemeth Dallas 2nd round, 41st overall in 2010
Fredrik Styrman N/A Eligible in 2011
A bright spot in a rather bleak Flyers system, Bertilsson is a smart stay-at-home defender with fringe-average skating and puck skills. He excels by not being heard of throughout the whole game with solid positioning, stick work and executing the first pass.
Making a U-20 team as a 17 year old is no small accomplishment, and that is one reason why many observers are high on Brodin. Hes a pro-level skater with above-average hockey sense and a game that is advanced beyond where the typical draft eligible prospect usually is. His frame still needs filling out and his offensive upside isnt that high, but draftniks should keep an eye on him during the tournament.
A first round pick of the Flames in 2009, Erixon is a plus thinker on the ice who features pro-level mobility and enough offensive upside that he can spot on Swedens second power play unit and projects as a second pairing guy at the NHL level. He still needs to improve his physical game to add an extra element to his game in the defensive zone.
My projected #1 pick for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in the preseason still remains there. Larsson has plus-plus hockey sense, is physically developed and has a very well-rounded game for an 18 year old. Some have pointed out his offensive production is down compared to last year, but that is mainly due to the explosive season of Ottawas David Rundblad and all the power play time hes gotten.
Nemeth is a plus physical player from the backend with solid skating abilities and an advanced defensive game. His playing time in the tournament is questionable due to a knee injury, but if he does play, look for him to be a sold contributor.
Player NHL Team Drafted
Johan Gustafsson Minnesota 6th round, 159th overall in 2010
Robin Lehner Ottawa 2nd round, 46th overall in 2009
F. Pettersson-Wentzel Atlanta 5th round, 128th overall in 2010
Robin is one of the top goalie prospects out there. He has a tremendous frame at 64, 225 lbs. and reads the game very well. For a big guy, his lateral movement is well above-average. He also moves forward and backward well and never hesitates to play at the top of the crease. His raw athletic tools are still fringe to fringe-average, but thats to be expected of a man his size.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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