The World Cup of Hockey is less than a month away and us here at Pucknology are in full swing for it. I’ll be covering most of the Team Sweden news/results, so if you like Sweden, I’m sorry you got stuck with me.
Sweden is boasting a real solid lineup going into the tournament, and I think they’re going to give the other teams some headaches. Here’s the full roster:
G Jhonas Enroth, Toronto Maple Leafs
G Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
G Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks
D Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators
D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
D Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks
D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
D Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks
D Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning
F Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
F Loui Eriksson, Vancouver Canucks
F Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
F Carl Hagelin, Pittsburgh Penguins
F Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins
F Marcus Kruger, Chicago Blackhawks
F Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
F Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
F Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
F Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks
F Carl Soderberg, Colorado Avalanche
F Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues
F Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings
The goaltending situation looks alright, with The King most likely getting the starting call. I don’t doubt that he will show up to play, as he’s still one of the best goalies in the world, but backup-wise, the team doesn’t really have another stud. Markstrom and Enroth are both capable goalies and should be fine, but the team will take a big hit if Lundqvist goes down.
Sweden’s defense is something special though. You’ve got Norris Trophy runner-up Erik Karlsson, then Victor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and a few others, respectably. Defense won’t be a problem for this team and it will be there strongest area. They have so many possible combos that would be deadly in all zones of the rink. Maybe we see a top pairing of Karlsson and Ekman-Larsson, or they go with some size and put Hedman up there with Erik; the possibilities are endless!
Offensive-wise, the Swedes are looking impressive. They have a couple of Stanley Cup Winners on the roster with Hagelin and Hornqvist and should have no problem rolling four strong lines. Henrik Zetterberg will once again captain Sweden in this tournament, as he did previously in the 2014 Sochi Olympics and I like it, the team already knows him as a leader so keeping that is good. Also, nine of the thirteen forwards were on the team during Sochi and they won silver in those games, only losing to Canada in the gold medal match. These guys should be confident about what they can do and have their eyes on the prize.
Team Sweden will take on Team Russia to kick off the tournament. It will be played on Sunday, September 18th and air on ESPN