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2022 World Junior Hockey Championship: Team Sweden preview & roster

After their long winning streak ended, they look to get back on the podium.

Sweden v Czech Republic: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

While the 2022 Swedish World Junior team is a deep squad, the lack of high-end talent will make it tough to compete with the top nations. A year after Sweden’s long round-robin winning streak ended with a 2-2 record en route to a fourth-place finish, they will be in tough to get back on the podium.

There is no doubt that Sweden should get through the group stage, but the team to beat will be Russia, which has accumulated some fantastic talent and should challenge for the championship as a whole. They are both in a tough group, with the United States, Slovakia, and Switzerland joining them. Any setback in the group stage could mean a quarter-final matchup with Finland or Canada.

Team Sweden final roster

# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
30 Calle Clang G SHL Rögle BK (PIT)
35 Jesper Vikman G WHL Vancouver Giants (VGK)
1 Jesper Wallstedt G SHL Luleå (MIN)
4 Emil Andrae D HockeyAllsvenskan HV71 (PHI)
7 Simon Edvinsson D SHL Frölunda HC (DET)
6 Måns Forsfjäll D SHL Skellefteå AIK
3 Helge Grans D AHL Ontario Reign (LAK)
8 Leo Lööf D Liiga Ilves (STL)
26 Joel Nyström D SHL Färjestad BK (CAR)
5 Anton Olsson D SHL Malmö (NSH)
12 Victor Sjöholm D HockeyAllsvenskan HV71
17 William Eklund F SHL Djugårdens IF (SJS)
24 Elliot Ekmark F SHL Linköping HC (FLA)
10 Alexander Holtz F AHL Utica Comets (NJD)
9 Daniel Ljungman F SHL Linköping HC (DAL)
11 Fabian Lysell F WHL Vancouver Giants (BOS)
28 Oksar Magnusson F HockeyAllsvenskan AIK (WSH)
27 Theodor Niederbach F SHL Frölunda HC (DET)
18 Zion Nybeck F HockeyAllsvenskan HV71 (CAR)
21 Oksar Olausson F OHL Barrie Colts (COL)
23 Isak Rosén F SHL Leksands IF (BUF)
20 Albert Sjöberg F HockeyAllsvenskan Södertälje SK (DAL)
15 Åke Stakkestad F HockeyAllsvenskan BIK Karlskoga
19 Elias Stenman F SHL Skellefteå AIK
29 Daniel Torgersson F HockeyAllsvenskan AIK (WPG)

Strengths

As always, the strength of the Swedish team will be from the net out, with their goaltending and defence. Jesper Wallstedt is likely the clear number one, with Calle Clang backing him up. Wallstedt looked solid in the starts he got in Ängelholm during the 4-Nations tournament in November, even if he was left alone sometimes by the Swedish defence.

The goalie from Luleå was perceived as a top-10 NHL Draft pick, but fell to the Minnesota Wild at pick 20. He has been strong for Luleå in the SHL, with a 1.82 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 17 games. He is strong, and an attacking kind of goalie who will challenge the forwards at any given time. He is tough to rattle, and will be able to cary the Swedish team going forward.

Looking at the defence, the main player is Simon Edvinsson, who has taken on a first-pairing role with Frölunda alongside former NHLer Christian Folin. Edvinsson will be used in all situations by the coaching staff, and the WJC should be a sort of coming-out party to the average hockey fan. He will have free rein, much in the way that Rasmus Dahlin and Rasmus Sandin had before him.

The defence is so deep that coach Tomas Montén has left William Wallinder off the roster, one of the best U20 defenders in Sweden. The Detroit Red Wings prospect has carved out a role with Sweden and possibly continental Europe’s best team, Rögle, and it is surprising that he has been left off the roster. Like Thomas Bordeleau on Team USA, it is a tough omission as a positive COVID-19 test left him off of last year’s roster as well.

Weaknesses

The forward group is lacking a bit of quality and I can’t see Sweden challenge the top contenders even if they manage to keep the score down. Their forward group may all come down to the NHL talent on the roster: William Eklund and Alexander Holtz. Neither really needs an introduction as they both made their NHL debuts this year. Eklund was sent back to Sweden to get more minutes, and Holtz played six games with the New Jersey Devils before being sent to the AHL for further development.

Beyond those two, it is a deep group, but one that doesn’t necessarily have the skill to make things happen offensively.

X-Factor

The two wild cards up front are Isak Rosén and Zion Nybeck, great offensive-minded players who need to be used in the right way to benefit the Swedish team. Nybeck oozes skill and he can dangle with the best of them, the question is if he will be able to do that on a smaller rink. Rosén is a player who uses his skates and his speed to get by defenders. His skating technique is great, and he will shoulder- and hip-fake players to go the wrong way in order to create space for himself.

There is undoubtedly skill on this Swedish team, but there is a big jump from the first line to the second. To me, it is all about the first unit of Edvinsson and Grans on defence and Holtz, Eklund, and Oskar Olausson up front. If that line works at five-on-five as well as on the power play, then Sweden will look okay, but I don’t see the other lines being able to create as much offence as Russia, Canada, USA, or Finland.