Sweden looking to build off silver medal with strong defence
At last years IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo the Swedes did something they hadn’t done since the 2014 tournament, take home a medal. They’re hoping to use last years silver medal as a launching pad for future success.
It wasn’t that there was a lack of talent at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 tournaments. Previous rosters included William Nylander, Adrian Kempe, Jacob Larsson, Alexander Nylander, Joel Eriksson Ek, Rasmus Dahlin and Elias Pettersson. Whatever the reason, the Swedes are moving and are building this years team with strong defence.
Every defenceman invited this year, except for Philip Broberg, have been drafted by an NHL team, no later than the third round. Broberg, a late addition to the preliminary roster, is an A-rated prospect on the ‘Players to Watch’ list by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. He is projected to be a first-round pick at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.
Erik Brannstrom and Timothy Liljegren are the only returning defencemen from last years team. Branstrom was selected 15th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights at the 2017 NHL draft. He’s currently playing his first season in North America with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, the 19-year-old has 20 points (4G, 16A) and 22 penalty minutes in 23 games played. Liljegren was taken two picks after Brannstrom by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the 17th selection. Last spring he helped Toronto Marlies of the AHL take home the Calder Cup Championship. Filip Westerlund is the only other defender that was drafted at the 2017 draft, he was taken in the second round by the Arizona Coyotes.
The rest of the players that will be auditioning to patrol Sweden’s blueline were all drafted at this past Junes draft in Dallas. Adam Boqvist was the highest pick, he was drafted eighth overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. He has 25 points (9G, 16A) and 8 penalty minutes in 23 games played with the OHL’s London Knights this year. Nils Lundkvist and Rasmus Sandin were selected back to back with the 28th and 29th selections by the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs respectively. Adam Ginning rounds out the list, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.
The Swedes will get their first look their defence in action against another team right here at Prospera Place this upcoming Tuesday, December 18th at 7:00 pm. They’ll face off against the Russians in a Lordco Road to the World Juniors Pre-Tournament game.
Don’t have your tickets yet? You’re in luck, there are still a few available! Let’s sell out Prospera and show the Swedes how loud we can get! Tickets are on sale at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.