Team Sweden released its final roster for the 2022 World Junior Championship, and while it includes a few familiar faces, it most notably contains six first-round draft picks from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. It’s a tough road to a medal, considering Canada, Finland and the United States also have stacked rosters, but don’t sleep on the Swedes, who have not captured gold at the World Juniors since 2012. They last earned a medal in 2020, winning bronze.
As with any tournament roster, there were a few omissions that caught fans by surprise, including forwards Simon Robertsson and William Stromgren. The team will also lose several players to NHL camps, which will be starting up in the next few weeks. However, one missing from the original lineup in December has returned with William Wallinder, giving the Swedes one of the best defensive corps at the tournament.
Calle Clang (Rögle BK), Carl Lindbom (Djurgårdens IF), Jesper Wallstedt (Luleå HF)
Wallstedt leads the way between the pipes for Team Sweden, and he’s back for his second stint at World Juniors after posting a 2.40 goals-against average (GAA) and .923 save percentage (SV%) in two games at last season’s tournament. The 19-year-old was drafted 20th overall by the Minnesota Wild at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft but was projected by some to go much higher.
He’s known for tracking the puck extremely well, and put together another solid season with Luleå HF in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), posting a 1.98 GAA and .918 SV% through 22 games (12-10-0). Better yet, he finished the season with the fourth-best numbers in the league while also being the youngest starting goalie. The Wild truly have a gem on their hands.
Clang, who was drafted 77th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2020, has been on an absolute tear in international competition this season, compiling a 1.20 GAA and .951 SV%, including one shutout, in four games with Team Sweden. He had a rough start with Rögle BK in the SHL, but finished strong, posting a 2.28 GAA and .915 SV% in 17 contests.
Clang most notably was named the HockeyAllsvenskan Best Junior player in 2020-21 after recording a 2.46 GAA and .919 SV% in 32 games. He also came up huge in the relegation round, going 3-2-0 with a 1.49 GAA and .952 SV% in five games. He is certainly a worthy netminder if his number gets called, and can help steal some games if Team Sweden needs it.
Rounding out the goalies is Lindbom, who replaces Jesper Vikman from the original roster. The 19-year-old had a decent season in Sweden, playing primarily with Djurgårdens IF U20, where he had a 13-6-0 record with a 2.24 GAA and a .913 SV%. His international numbers haven’t been as strong, posting a 3.07 GAA and a .895 SV% in two appearances, but his single appearance in the SHL this season showed his potential, where he had a 1.50 GAA and a .950 SV%.
Like Vikman, it’s unlikely Lindbom sees any action at the tournament as a third-string option, but he’ll still be eligible for next year’s tournament, which is possibly why Sweden opted for him over his future Vegas Golden Knights teammate. Experience is a valuable thing and it will help him prepare for whatever comes in 2023.
Emil Andrae (HV71), Simon Edvinsson (Detroit Red Wings), Måns Forsfjall (Skellefteå AIK), Helge Grans (Ontario Reign), William Wallinder (Rögle BK), Anton Olsson (Skellefteå AIK), Ludvig Jansson (Södertälje SK), Leo Lööf (Ilves)
Edvinsson leads the way for Team Sweden on the blue line, and the 18-year-old, who was drafted sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 2021, has already been compared to NHL rookie Moritz Seider. That’s high praise, considering Seider picked up the Calder Trophy last season, but it’s for good reason as he shows great vision and can see and execute plays that few others can.
Edvinsson’s attention to detail and strong hockey IQ makes him an asset in the defensive zone, but he’s certainly not afraid to contribute offensively, either. In 44 games with Frölunda HC last season, he put away two goals and 17 assists, good for eighth on the team. He also registered two points, both assists, in International Juniors’ play with Sweden last season.
Related: Guide to the 2022 World Juniors
Although he was selected to the final roster, Mattias Havelid will not join Sweden in Edmonton and has been replaced with fellow 2022 draft pick Ludvig Jansson. Selected in the fourth round by the Florida Panthers, he is a smooth-skating, mobile defenceman who can join the rush and contribute offensively. In 47 games in the Allsvenskan league, he scored twice and added three assists, the seventh-highest total among all teenagers in the league, while his game total ranked third.
Keep your eyes on Emil Andrae, as the 20-year-old performed exceptionally well with HV71 this season, finishing fourth on the team with 33 points. Though just 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds, he is known for his tough style of play but can chip in offensively to boot.
Drafted 58th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2020 Entry Draft, Andrae is starting to get noticed around the league. On top of his excellent play with HV71, he also scored a goal and six assists in International Juniors’ play with Team Sweden this year. He is no stranger to accolades, either, considering he recorded the most points by a defenseman in the J20 SuperElit league in 2019-20 after posting 38 points on 11 goals and 27 assists in 40 games.
Another player to watch is Lööf, who was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2020. The 20-year-old defenseman has scored consistently over the past few years and picked up 10 points in 48 games for Ilves in Finland’s Liiga. Last season he played 19 games for Eskilstuna Linden Hockey on loan in Sweden’s Hockey Ettan league and racked up three goals and 12 assists in 19 games.
But what makes Lööf so useful is his physicality. The 6-foot-1, 179-pound D-man is another bruiser and regularly dishes out bone-crushing hits. However, sometimes he plays a bit too on the line, as he was suspended for one game after an illegal hit to the head during the cancelled tournament in December. Still, with both Andrae and Lööf, the Swedes certainly won’t lack physicality heading into the rescheduled event in August.
Liam Öhgren (Djurgårdens IF), Daniel Ljungman (Linköping HC), Fabian Lysell (Vancouver Giants), Oskar Magnusson (AIK), Theodor Niederbach (Rögle BK), Oskar Olausson (Barrie Colts), Isak Rosén (Rochester Americans), Albert Sjöberg (Södertälje SK), Åke Stakkestad (BIK Karlskoga), Linus Sjödin (Rögle BK), Daniel Torgersson (Manitoba Moose), Jonathan Lekkerimäki (Djurgårdens IF), Victor Stjernborg (Växjö Lakers HC)
Team Sweden’s forward corps is set to be one of the strongest in the tournament, featuring five first-round picks from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Öhgren (19th overall, Minnesota Wild), Lekkerimäki (15th overall, Vancouver Canucks), Rosén (14th overall, Buffalo Sabres), Lysell (21st overall, Boston Bruins), and Olausson (28th overall, Colorado Avalanche).
Öhgren steps in for William Eklund, who decided to skip the World Juniors in favour of preparing for the San Jose Sharks training camp. It’s a big blow to the Swedes, who were expecting him to lead their offence, but his replacement should be up for the task. Taken in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft, Öhgren played 25 games with Djurgårdens IF last season, scoring a goal and two points in that span. Internationally, however, he’s been unstoppable. He had seven goals and 16 points in 11 games at the U18 level, scored 10 points at the U18 World Juniors, led all forwards at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Championship, and even snuck into three U20 games, where he scored three points. There are few prospects that show as much intelligence as him, which leaves Sweden’s offence in good hands despite losing a key player in Eklund.
Joining Öhgren as the only other 2022 first-round pick is Lekkerimäki. Like Eklund, he’s a smaller player, but he certainly doesn’t play like it. He has an incredible shot and isn’t afraid to use it, scoring seven goals as a 17-year-old in 26 games with the SHL’s Djurgårdens IF. He also led all U18 Swedish players internationally with 11 goals in 12 appearances and was tied for third at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament with five goals in as many games.
Rosén is known for his playmaking ability and already played with Sweden on the International Juniors circuit in the 2021-22 season, recording three points on one goal and two assists in nine games. In addition, he excelled last season in the U18 World Championships, as he helped the team to a bronze medal after posting nine points, including seven goals in seven games. He also played 26 games with Leksands IF in the SHL, scoring two goals and an assist over that span.
Lysell tore it up with the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants this season, scoring 62 points (22 goals, 40 assists) in 53 games. The 19-year-old was also part of that U18 World Championships bronze medal team where he recorded nine points on three goals and nine assists in seven games.
Rounding out the first-round forwards on the team, Olausson had a solid season with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Barrie Colts and Oshawa Generals. Between the two, he put up 49 points in 55 games, and his production was an almost-perfect split with 26 goals and 23 assists.
Though he hasn’t produced much at the international level to this point, Olausson had three goals and one assist in U20 international play last season, plus two points in the cancelled World Junior tournament in December.
Beyond the first-round picks, keep your eye on Niederbach, who will be expected to perform at a high level after a breakout season with Frölunda HC’s J20 team last season. He recorded 35 points in 19 games before ultimately getting promoted to the SHL, where he notched three goals and two assists in 20 games. He chipped in an assist in seven playoff games as well. The 20-year-old was drafted by the Red Wings 51st overall in 2020, and his plus-23 rating with Frölunda’s J20 team in 2020-21 was the best in the league.
Bottom Line for Team Sweden
Team Sweden has its work cut out for it in this year’s tournament but is also amazingly deep at every position. Considering its roster has a first-round selection in each category and despite losing several key players, there’s plenty of room for optimism, though it’s no small task to match up against the behemoths of the sport, including Canada and the United States. Still, if the roster performs to its potential — at least on paper — it’s going to be an equally tough night for its opposition.
All Your THW 2022 World Junior Championship Coverage
An elementary teacher by day and an avid hockey fan, Dayton joined The Hockey Writers in 2019 and currently covers the Ottawa Senators, World Juniors, and NHL Entry Draft.