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2019 World Junior Hockey Championship: Team Denmark preview & roster

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The resilient Danes are back for another tour among the world’s elite hockey nations.

Denmark - Dennis Pajot

After achieving their highest placement (fifth) in their time in the tournament, Team Denmark found itself in the relegation round last year. They defeated Belarus twice in closely contested games, and are certainly looking for a bounce-back year.

Once again helmed by Olaf Eller, the team sees a number of returnees: a goalie, three defencemen, and six forwards, including Golden Knights draft pick and last year's team scoring leader, Jonas Røndbjerg.

The team is back among familiar foes in Group A, where they'll once more face off against Canada, Czech Republic, Russia, and Switzerland.

Team Denmark final roster

# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
31 Albert Adamsen G Denmark Herning Blue Fox
1 William Rørth G Denmark Rødovre Mighty Bulls
30 Mads Søgaard G WHL Medicine Hat Tigers
6 Victor Andersen D Denmark Herning Blue Fox
8 Daniel Baastrup Andersen D SuperElit Linköping HC J20
4 Lasse Helm Mortensen D Denmark Rødovre Mighty Bulls
2 Magnus Koch D Denmark Herlev Eagles
25 Oscar Schulze D Denmark Rungsted Seier Capital
3 Malte Setkov D SHL Malmö Redhawks (DET)
7 Jeppe Urup Mogensen D USHL Sioux Falls Stampede
17 Lucas Andersen F SuperElit Karlskrona HK J20
20 Lukas Bach Nielsen F NLB EVZ Academy
10 Jonathan Brinkman F Denmark Aalborg Pirates
29 Victor Cubars F SuperElit Malmö Redhawks J20
19 Christoffer Gath F Denmark Herlev Eagles
21 Gustav Green F Denmark Rungsted Seier Capital
22 Andreas Grundtvig F Denmark Esbjerg Energy
13 Oliver Kjær F Denmark2 Esbjerg IK
23 David Madsen F SuperElit Malmö Redhawks J20
24 Emil Marcussen F Denmark Aalborg Pirates
16 Jonas Røndbjerg F SHL Växjö Lakers HC (VGK)
27 Phillip Schultz F WHL Victoria Royals
18 Jakob Wittendorf F Denmark Odense Bulldogs

Denmark has two drafted players this year: the aforementioned Røndbjerg, and Malte Setkov, drafted by the Red Wings in 2017.

Goalie Mads Søgaard is one of the returning players this year, and though he didn't start any games last year, he is the fifth-best goalie in the WHL this season with a save percentage of .931 in 19 games played for the Medicine Hat Tigers. He is also eligible for this year's draft. Søgaard is the youngest of the team's three goalies, and the other two have both been playing against men in Denmark (albeit in a small sample size), so it will be interesting to see who claims the net.

Weaknesses

As has been the case for Denmark every year except the one memorable one in which Nikolaj Ehlers, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Mads Eller played together, there isn't exactly a wealth of offensive talent on the team. They will likely be relying on Røndberg and Phillip Schultz to carry the team. Considering that before the relegation round last year they only scored two goals, offence is definitely a concern. Likewise, defence will be an issue, as the team's goal differential and shots against are always high.

Strengths

Denmark's strength has always been their resilience. They always fight hard regardless of the previous game's outcome, or the strength of the team they're up against. Likewise, and perhaps a little surprisingly, of all the teams in the competition, they're third when it comes to experience in the tournament. Røndbjerg, of course, leads the way with four tournaments and 16 games to his name. Moreover, 21 of the players on the preliminary roster have spent at least some time in men's leagues this season.

X-Factor

Denmark has always lived or died by their team game, their goal-tending, and Eller's ability to keep a group consistent and motivated against daunting odds. It’s a trend that is likely to continue this year.