The Swedish roster was announced on November 30th, and it features a plethora of talent at all three positions. In goal, they will be anchored by blue-chip prospect (and if you watched the tournament last winter, aspiring actor) Jacob Markstrom. The defense will feature at least two (and potentially three) recent first round draft picks, and the forward group consists of a great mix of speed, skill, and tenacity. On paper, the Swedish team looks like the one to beat heading in to the tournament.
W Mattias Tedenby (2008 1st round pick, New Jersey Devils). Tedenby is seeing limited minutes this season with Jonkoping, but he will be one of the go-to guys for the Swedes. He is small, but feisty and tenacious (not to mention incredibly skilled). He is probably an AHL season away from being an NHL regular. Look for him to have a big tournament..
C Jacob Josefson (2009 1st round pick, New Jersey Devils). Josefson projects to be a strong two-way center (much like current Devil Travis Zajac). He is the total package on the ice – but expect him to play more of an offensive role with this team. He made slide over to the wing depending on how the lines shake out.
W Magnus Svensson Paajarvi (2009 1st round pick, Edmonton Oilers). Paajarvi will dominate this tournament with his combination of size and speed. His skill packaged has earned some Marian Hossa comparisons. Expect him to be one of the most dangerous forwards at this tournament. He projects to be a strong two-way NHL player. Reminds me a bit of Jakub Voracek.
C Marcus Johansson (2009 1st round pick, Washington Capitals). Johansson has upside as an offensive player but he may be put in more of a two-way role at this tournament.
W Dennis Rasmussen (undrafted). Rasmussen has a big frame, but often has been accused of being a bit of a perimeter player. Will be a depth player on this tea,.
W Jakob Silfverberg (2009 2nd round pick, Ottawa Senators). Silfverberg is offensively talented and smart in all areas of the game (that is a statement that can apply to many of the Swedish forwards). He plays a bit soft at times, though. Expect him to play on the third line in a depth offensive role.
C Anton Lander (2009 2nd round pick, Edmonton Oilers). Lander is gritty, tenacious, and skilled defensively. He has a blossoming offensive game, but expect him to be the checking center for Sweden at this tournament.
W Carl Klingberg (2009 2nd round pick, Atlanta Thrashers). Klingberg is a tenacious forechecking presence, a great skater, and a pain to play against. Expect him to be a key agitator at this tournament.
W Anton Rodin (2009 2nd round pick, Vancouver Canucks). Rodin played his way onto this team with a very impressive showing at a recent tournament in Ontario. He isn’t getting much time with his SEL team, as his coach seems to favour veterans. He will play a secondary scoring role, but has big time offensive upside. He is lightning quick and very skilled with the puck.
C Andre Petersson (2008 4th round pick, Ottawa Senators). Petersson is a slick, one-dimensional offensive talent. He will find his way onto one of the scoring lines and power play units.
C Marcus Kruger (2009 5th round pick, Chicago Blackhawks). Kruger currently leads his team (Djurgardens) in scoring, with 22 points in 25 games. He is not big, but is skilled and solid in all facets of the game. He will center one of the top lines for the Swedes.
W Daniel Brodin (undrafted). Brodin is fast, tenacious, and a good checker. He will be on the fourth line.
C Martin Lundberg (undrafted). Lundberg is sound defensively and will be on the fourth line. Elite Prospects compares him to Sammy Pahlsson.
D Lukas Kilstrom (undrafted). Kilstrom is a solid, steady, under-the-radar type. Depth defenseman.
D Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2009 1st round pick, Phoenix Coyotes). Ekman-Larrson is an amazing talent – he is fast, slick with the puck, and sound defensively without it. He should be in the NHL next season. Look for him to be one of the best players at the tournament. He will see ample power play time too, especially if Ottawa doesn’t release Erik Karlsson.
D Adam Larsson (2011 draft eligible). Larsson is being billed as the next great Swede. He only recently turned 17, but is already playing (and dominating) against men in the SEL This tournament will be his coming out party. Early rumblings that he could be the favorite to be picked first overall in 2011. His poise and decision-making is already world-class.
D David Rundblad (2009 1st round pick, St. Louis Blues). Rundblad is off to a slow start this season, but he possesses a very high offensive ceiling. He will be one of the key defensemen on the Swedish team.
D Tim Erixon (2009 1st round pick, Calgary Flames). Erixon is a steady, safe two-way defenseman. He has five goals in the SEL this season, good first place among junior (under 20) defensemen.
D Matthias Ekholm (2009 4th round pick, Nashville Predators). Ekholm is a big kid (he is already 6’3” and over 200 pounds). He will play a depth role on this team.
D Simon Bertilsson (2009 3rd round pick, Philadelphia Flyers). Bertilsson will be the seventh defenseman on this team if Karlsson is not released. He is a steady, solid two-way defenseman.
G Jacob Markstrom (2008 2nd round pick, Florida Panthers). Markstrom is a five-star prospect, and has future all-star written all over him. Detroit must be kicking themselves for picking Thomas McCollum ahead of him in 2008 – Markstrom is once again one of the elite players in the SEL.
G Anders Nilsson (2009 3rd round pick, New York Islanders). Nilsson is massive (6’5” and 220 pounds). He won’t see much playing time unless Markstrom struggles or gets injured.
The Swedes, to put it simply, are stacked. They have a wealth of recent 1st and 2nd round draft picks at all positions, and have the best goaltender at the tournament. The real gem to watch for at this tournament is Larsson, though. I have only seen clips of him play but he sounds like he will be a really, really special player.
Svensson Paajarvi – Kruger – Petersson
Tedenby – Johansson – Josefson
Rodin – Lander – Silfverberg
Klingberg – Lundberg – Brodin
Erixon – Ekman Larsson
Rundblad – Larsson
Ekholm – Kilstrom