IF WE’RE GO­ING TO make a blan­ket state­ment, Swedes don’t like to draw at­ten­tion to them­selves. But for sev­eral play­ers on this year’s world ju­nior squad, that’s not go­ing to be a choice. “Swe­den is go­ing to be more star driven than usual,” said one scout. “It’s go­ing to be a lit­tle more flashy. You’ll be look­ing at in­di­vid­u­als to do their thing rather than three or four lines.”

Head­lin­ing the mar­quee are for­wards Elias Pet­ters­son (VAN) and Lias An­der­s­son (NYR) and top 2018 draft prospect Ras­mus Dahlin on de­fense. All three re­turn from last year’s fourth-place team, and get­ting Swe­den back on the podium for the first time since 2014 is a pri­or­ity. The on-ice work shouldn’t be too dif­fi­cult, but keep­ing fo­cus with in­ter­na­tional me­dia at their doors will be some­thing to con­sider. “It’s go­ing to be a lot of eyes on Dahlin,” said the scout. “The me­dia at­ten­tion will be on those guys.”

On top of the men­tioned play­ers, there’s also NHL first-rounders Erik Brannstrom (VEG) and Ti­mothy Lil­je­gren (TOR) on the back end. They’ll help make Swe­den’s de­fense corps a dan­ger­ously mo­bile puck-mov­ing group. Brannstrom and Dahlin of­ten lead the rush in a fourth-for­ward kind of role.

Aid­ing An­der­s­son and Pet­gter­ro­suspon­thuapt fhraos­ntsc­woirlilnbgepau­vnec­ther­aannd hard-work­ing, re­li­able play­ers such as Fredrik Karl­strom (DAL) and Tim Soder­lund (CHI).

As per usual, the Swedes will bhyavFeil­ci­pa­pGaub­slteavg­sosaol­nte(nPdIiTn)g. ,Hlee’ds a vet­eran from last year’s squad and had a good show­ing at the World Ju­nior Sum­mer Show­case. With all the po­si­tions cov­ered, Swe­den’s fi­nal chal­lenge is a men­tal one. This team has been crest­fallen by losses zthoemp­baiest­pce­oru­fo­prlme yae­nacress, it­nurtnhieng­bri­onnze medal game be­fore last year’s over­time loss to Rus­sia. Per­se­ver­ance will be a key.


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