SHL Update: December

Brad Phillips

2016-12-14

The most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner for prospects fans as the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship gets underway in less than two weeks in the Montreal and Toronto. Sweden is one country that is always a medal threat and this year looks to be no exception.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Official – Team Sweden <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Worldjuniors?src=hash">#Worldjuniors</a> roster. No Timothy Liljegren. Three players to be cut.<br>Details: <a href="https://t.co/bUne1edtgF">https://t.co/bUne1edtgF</a> <a href="https://t.co/x86R6S5Ioq">pic.twitter.com/x86R6S5Ioq</a></p>&mdash; Eliteprospects (@eliteprospects) <a href="https://twitter.com/eliteprospects/status/805759307795013632">December 5, 2016</a></blockquote>

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Looking at the preliminary roster there is a host of players plying their trade in the top league in Sweden. Here’s a look at how some of the expected top performers have fared so far this season.

 

Felix Sandstrom

The first of Philadelphia’s two goalie selections in the third round of the 2015 draft, Sandstrom is expected to assume number one goalie duties for Tre Kroner. Based on his play so far it’s easy to see why. Patrolling the crease for Brynas 11 times in tandem with David Rautio, Sandstrom has compiled a 9-2-0 record, a 2.00 GAA and .919% save percentage. The latter two are among the leagues leaders. The Flyers suddenly have an enviable goaltender pipeline, something they haven’t had in a long time, and Sandstrom may be the best of the bunch.

 

Sandstrom showing off his flexibility

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Jacob Larsson

As one of two returning defensemen for Sweden, Larsson should anchor the back end and be leaned on to be matched up against other team’s top players. Since returning from North America, Larsson has been slightly behind his 2015-16 offensive production but some of the underlying numbers have been an improvement. He’s registered three assists in the 13 games to date and is averaging just over 17 minutes per game in ice time. He is up about 30 seconds per game over last year and is getting the puck on net nearly 0.5 more times per game than his 2015-16 rate. Don’t count on Larsson to contribute to your hits category in the future as he has yet to be credited for a hit. Larsson should be one of Sweden’s top performers.

 

Rasmus Dahlin

Assuming Dahlin isn’t one of the final cuts, he’ll be among the most closely watched players at this years tournament. He’s among the top few 2018 draft prospects and is already drawing comparisons to Erik Karlsson thanks to his elite level puck skills. Just check out the clips below. Another reason for the comparison is the fact that they are both products of the Frolunda system. In 12 games, Dahlin has a goal and an assist. The goal is an historic one as Dahlin is the first player born in the 2000s to score a goal in the SHL. At just 16 he’ll be the youngest player participating in the tournament and it will be interesting to see how he does against the top junior talent in the world.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="sv" dir="ltr">Bara en påminnelse.<a href="https://t.co/Ks2k4TjEKN">pic.twitter.com/Ks2k4TjEKN</a></p>&mdash; Johan Rylander (@rylanderjohan) <a href="https://twitter.com/rylanderjohan/status/803976427431284736">November 30, 2016</a></blockquote>

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{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">2018 Top Swedish Prospect Rasmus Dahlin scores his first SHL goal. <a href="https://t.co/PjZvkl5Co7">pic.twitter.com/PjZvkl5Co7</a></p>&a