clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 World Junior Hockey Championship: Team Sweden preview & roster

Czechia v Sweden: Bronze Medal Game - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Andy Devlin/ Getty Images

Team Sweden could be defined by the players that are missing on the blue line; Skellefteå defenceman Elias Salomonsson, and San Jose Sharks pick Mattias Hävelid along with Detroit Red Wings prospect Simon Edvinsson are all out of the tournament; two strong defenders, and a budding NHL star that will be difficult to replace.

On the other hand, for Montreal Canadiens fans, this will mean that Adam Engström, who has had a stellar start of his SHL career in Rögle, gets a time to shine. The Swedish defence will also include 2023 NHL Draft prospect Axel Sandin Pellikka from Skellefteå, someone who people really should keep an eye on throughout the tournament.

Another draft prospect on the squad is Leo Carlsson, a big, strong centre who is climbing up the draft boards and was top three in some of the latest rankings released before the championship starts. The 6’3’’ player is close to 200 pounds and uses his frame to shield the puck, his speed to gain separation, and good hands to help him control the puck with ease. He played 35 SHL games with Örebro last season and had nine points; this season he has played 25 and accumulated 14 points (3G, 11A).

Interestingly, the coaching team for Sweden has changed for this tournament. Gone is Tomas Montén who coached his last WJC this summer, and the Swedish Ice Hockey Association has moved Magnus Hävelid up from the under-18 team, where he managed to get two gold medals in four years (2019 and 2022). It will be interesting to see how he succeeds at a bigger stage, especially as many players in the squad have been coached by him in other tournaments when they were younger.

Team Sweden final roster

# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
# Player Position League Current team (NHL)
1 Ian Blomquist G HockeyAllsvenskan Västerås IK
30 Marcus Brännman G USHL Dubuque Fighting Saints
35 Carl Lindbom G HockeyAllsvenskan Djurgårdens IF (VGK)
8 Adam Engström D SHL Rögle BK (MTL)
9 Ludvig Jansson D HockeyAllsvenskan Södertälje SK (FLA)
3 Hugo Jonasson D J20 Nationell IK Oskarshamn
15 Jakob Norén D HockeyAllsvenskan MoDo Hockey
7 Calle Odelius D HockeyAllsvenskan Djurgårdens IF (NYI)
2 Elias Pettersson D SHL Örebro HK (VAN)
4 Axel Sandin Pellikka D J20 Nationell Skellefteå AIK
6 Victor Sjöholm D SHL HV 71
18 Filip Bystedt F SHL Linköping HC (SJS)
21 Leo Carlsson F SHL Örebro HK
24 Jonathan Lekkerimäki F HockeyAllsvenskan Djurgårdens IF (VAN)
11 Fabian Lysell F AHL Providence Bruins (BOS)
20 Liam Öhgren F HockeyAllsvenskan Djurgårdens IF (MIN)
25 Milton Oscarson F SHL Örebro HK
12 Noah Östlund F HockeyAllsvenskan Djurgårdens IF (BUF)
27 Oskar Pettersson F J20 Nationell Rögle BK (OTT)
28 Simon Robertsson F SHL Skellefteå AIK (STL)
19 Isak Rosén F AHL Rochester Americans (BUF)
26 Victor Stjernborg F SHL Växjö Lakers HC (CHI)
23 William Strömgren F SHL Brynäs IF (CGY)
10 Fabian Wagner F SHL Linköping HC (WPG)

Sweden will have a number-one goalie in Carl Lindbom, who plays for Djurgården in HockeyAllsvenskan. He has been the best player for his team this fall according to our guest on the podcast, Jimmy Hamrin, Swedish scout for Elite Prospects. He’s someone who could help Sweden go far into the medal rounds.

Strengths

The first line, with Fabian Lysell, Isak Rosén and Leo Carlsson, should dominate. The question is what Leo Carlsson can do against top-level competition consisting of his own age group. It should really be a competitive, and one of the strongest, first lines in this tournament.

A second line consisting of the Djurgården trio of Noah Östlund, Liam Öhgren, and Jonathan Lekkerimäki should be good to have in reserve. The Djurgården line has struggled against senior competition this fall, but if they get going it could pay dividends down the line.

While coach Hävelid hasn’t been at this level before, he has two U18 golds on his resume and it points to a coach who gets the best out of his players as well as having the brains to coach actively deep into a tournament. He is also a coach who goes his own way, building a team on which everyone knows the different roles they are asked to play.

Weaknesses

It is tough to say the defence here, but behind Sandin Pellikka, Engström, and maybe Odelius, there is a huge gap. Where Sweden has been able to rely on a deep defensive pool in previous years, this time it’s down to a first pair and then the support cast.

Lindbom is a good goalie and he will be relied on to play most games, but what would happen if he has a poor start? The gap to the next goalie is big, and maybe too big if an injury would occur.

Projection

Sweden will play for the medals. It would be important to beat USA in the group stage to avoid Canada before a final. If the team doesn’t win against USA, or if USA doesn’t slip up in another game, then I would think Sweden loses out to Canada in the semifinal and end up playing for bronze. With Russia out of the tournament, anything but a medal game would be deemed a failure.


Eliteprospects’ Jimmy Hamrin joins the podcast to talk about Sweden’s team; whom to look at and what the expectations on the team are: