The World Junior Hockey Championship is right around the corner with Sweden as a perennial medal contender. After capturing a silver medal in the 2014 edition they have been doomed with back-to-back-to-back losses in the bronze medal game. They’ll be looking to avoid a similar fate by bringing a team packed with talent honing their skills in the highest league in the nation.
You can’t stop Pettersson, you can only hope to contain him. Although teams haven’t been doing a particularly good job of doing the latter either. Playing 16 and a half minutes a night for the Vaxjo Lakers, the accolades for the Vancouver Canucks' first rounder arealengthy. He leads the league with 35 points in 26 games, second in the league in helpers with 24, first in points-per-game with 1.35, and is on pace for the second best U20 season in league history.
His production has been boosted by a high 18 percent shooting conversion rate, but even if this comes back down to earth a little bit it shouldn’t hurt his point total too much. Pettersson’s been hot as of late to the tune of seven points over his last five games including a four assist game versus Frolunda. He should be in the mix for tournament scoring leading and should Sweden capture a medal you can bet he’ll be in the MVP conversation.
Pettersson’s four assist effort versus Farjestad
Two assist game against Lulea
Not nearly as hyped as Dahlin, Lundestrom is nevertheless a high end prospect who should hear his name called in the mid-late first round this June. Playing for Lulea in his second SHL season, Lundeström has seen his numbers take a big jump in 2017-18 thanks in big part to a jump in ice time. He’s playing 16 minutes a night, an increase of seven minutes from last year, and has produced three goals and 10 points on the season, already surpassing last year’s total in half as many game. He could stand to shoot more with just 25 shots in 24 games although he’s always been more of a setup than a trigger man
Lundestrom with the cross ice pass for a helper at 2:45
Were it not for Pettersson, Andersson’s season would be getting a lot more attention. Making the move to Frolunda after playing for HV71 in 2016-17, the New York Rangers' top pick in the 2017 draft sits second in the league in points among U20 players with seven goals and an equal amount of assists in 22 contests. Were he to play a full slate of games at his current pace he would finish with a top-20 U20 season. He heads to Buffalo riding a nice five game stretch that has saw him produce six points. Like Pettersson he’ll be relied upon to lead Tre Kroner to some hardware.
At 0:31 Andersson with an assist and at 1:10 he tips home a goal
The consensus top prospect for the upcoming draft, all eyes will be focused on the 17 year-old Swede competing in his second tournament of his young career. He’s been every bit as advertised this year flashing his highlight reel ability on a nightly basis and looks to bring more of the same to Buffalo. In his second campaign with Frolunda, Dahlin has seen a 50 percent increase in ice time averaging over 19 minutes per game. It’s been increasing as the season has worn on playing over 23 minutes four times in the past month, topping out at 25. On the season Dahlin has recorded five goals and six helpers in 26 games. Dahlin has been shooting the puck a whole lot more this season having registered 52 shots this year after only 21 last year in the same amount of games. He’ll lead things from the back end for Team Sweden.
At 3:17 Dahlin finds the puck in the goalmouth scramble and puts it home.
Along with Dahlin, Brannstrom should be featured heavily for the Swedes, especially on the power play. His numbers in league play aren’t eye popping; in 27 games he’s registered six assists and has failed to find the back of the net so far. Despite only having six points this still represents top-four production for HV71. He’s seen his ice time dip in recent games, but he was in the high teens/low 20’s early on in the year but he’s now down around 12-15 minutes. This might be due in part to a team worst minus-six rating. He’s still so young though having just turned 18 a few months ago so there are bound to be some good and bad to his game. Regardless hecould be a candidate to wear a letter in Buffalo
At 2:35 Brannstrom picks up the secondary assist
That’s a wrap! Thanks for checking in all year long. Hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and enjoy all of the 2018 World Junior action!