2023 World Junior Championship Team Sweden Final Roster

It’s been 10 years since Team Sweden captured the gold medal at the World Junior Championship. It hasn’t been for lack of trying; in that period, the Swedes have grabbed three silvers and two bronzes while sporting some of the best hockey players in the world on their rosters. Yet for one reason or another, they just haven’t been able to combine all that talent into a first-place finish.

However, there’s a good reason to believe that this year may be different. For the first time in six years, Sweden will have a different person behind the bench with Magnus Hävelid taking over for Tomas Monten, who announced he was leaving the program at last year’s tournament. Magnus, the brother of former NHL defenceman Niclas Hävelid, coached the U18 team to a gold medal at the U18 World Junior Championship and a bronze medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last year, and several of the players on those teams will be joining the U20 team in Halifax and Moncton in December.

The Swedes will still bring plenty of experience, though, with seven players returning from last year’s bronze medal-winning team who will be eager to prove that they’re better than their 2022 results. They also have six first-round picks on their roster, giving them one of the highest talent levels of any nation at the tournament outside of North America.


Carl Lindbom (Djurgårdens IF), Ian Blomquist (Västerås IK), Marcus Brännman (Dubuque Fighting Saints)

Although the Swedes will be without superstar goalie Jesper Wallstedt and longtime national team member Calle Clang, the team is still bringing a deadly goalie tandem with them to Halifax and Moncton. Carl Lindbom will take over starting duties for Sweden after serving as the third-string option last year, and while he may not be as well known as his predecessors, he’s been the best goalie in the HockeyAllsvenskan this season. Through 19 games, he ranks second in both goals against average (GAA) with a 1.86 and in save percentage (SV%) with a .933. He sits third in games played while also being the only U20 goalie to appear in more than 10 games. Yeah, he’s pretty good.

However, in international play this season, Lindbom has taken a backseat to undrafted netminder Ian Blomquist, who is undefeated in two appearances with Sweden so far while sporting a tidy 2.00 GAA and a .929 SV%. He hasn’t gotten as many opportunities in the Allsvenskan, playing just nine games with Västerås IK, but in those appearances, he picked up a shutout and sports a .920 SV%. His skillset gives Sweden the option of employing a 1A/1B setup with their goalies, should they decide to spread out the games evenly.

The final member of Sweden’s crease is Marcus Brännman. Also undrafted, he decided to ply his trade overseas in the United States Hockey League. He too has been lights-out internationally with a 1.96 GAA and a .925 SV% but hasn’t been quite as strong with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, putting up just a .901 SV% over 11 games. Still, he’s a strong goalie that can play when the pressure’s on. Unfortunately, the Swedes have a habit of relying heavily on their starter and going to their backup only when necessary, so he’ll likely just be along for the ride.


Ludvig Jansson (Södertälje SK), Calle Odelius (Djurgårdens IF), Adam Engström (Rogle BK), Elias Pettersson (Orebro HK), Jakub Norén (MoDo), Victor Sjöholm (HV71), Hugo Jonasson (IK Oskarshamn J20), Axel Sandin-Pellikka (Skellefteå AIK)

There was one question on everyone’s mind after Sweden’s roster announcement – where is Simon Edvinsson? The sixth overall pick in 2021 was easily Sweden’s best player last year, looking calm and collected even when the rest of the team was sputtering. But, according to reporter Uffe Bodin, the talented prospect turned down an invitation to join the team, instead choosing to remain in the American Hockey League (AHL). It’s not hard to see why he chose to stay; after 16 games, the 19-year-old has nine points and is in a great position to get a call-up to the NHL.

Simon Edvinsson Grand Rapids Griffins
Simon Edvinsson elected to stay with Grand Rapids Griffins instead of playing at the 2023 World Juniors (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

That leaves Ludvig Jansson as the only member of Sweden’s defence corps with any World Junior experience. A speedy, aggressive defender, he’s been one of the best teenage defencemen in the Allsvenskan this season, putting up a goal and six points in 26 games, which already surpasses his 2021-22 point total. Injuries slowed him down in his draft year, which allowed the Florida Panthers to scoop him up in the fourth round, but there was always the potential in him to become a top blue line prospect. He’s no Edvinsson, but he has the potential to be a break-out star for Sweden at this tournament.

That’s not to say that the Swedish defence is weak, though. The team’s blue line features four of the five highest-scoring defencemen under 20 years old in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL): Adam Engström, a third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens, undrafted 19-year-olds Viktor Sjöholm and Hugo Jonasson, and potential 2023 first-round selection Axel Sandin-Pellikka. Elias Salomonsson, a Winnipeg Jets’ second-round pick and the highest scorer of the group, will sadly have to miss this tournament due to an injury.

Calle Odelius and Elias Pettersson give Sweden some interesting options on the back end. Both were 2022 Draft picks and bring high levels of competitiveness and intelligence to the ice. Pettersson is currently the better player, having spent most of the 2022-23 season in the SHL with Örebro HK where he has just a goal and an assist, but in his brief time in the J20 league, he was over a point per game. He was equally impressive internationally, scoring three goals in seven games. Odelius doesn’t have the same offensive resume as he has just four assists in Sweden’s second-tier Allsvenskan league, but his two-way skills and smooth skating will make him a big-minute player, especially in the absence of Edvinsson.

Jakob Norén, another undrafted defender who, despite standing just 5-foot-9, has been one of the best U20 defencemen in the Allsvenskan, putting up six points in 22 games with MoDo Hockey while also demonstrating quickness and the ability to break up plays with an active stick. However, with the skill already on the blue line, he may end up as Sweden’s injury replacement.


Liam Öhgren (Djurgårdens IF), Fabian Lysell (Providence Bruins), Isak Rosén (Rochester Americans), Jonathan Lekkerimäki (Djurgårdens IF)Victor Stjernborg (Växjö Lakers HC), Leo Carlsson (Orebro HK), Filip Bystedt (Linkoping HC), Oskar Pettersson (Rogle BK), Simon Robertsson (Skellefteå AIK), Fabian Wagner (Linkoping HC), Noah Östlund, Milton Oscarsson (Orebro HK)

All eyes will be on the trio from Djurgårdens who will play together for the first time at the World Juniors in Halifax. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Liam Öhgren, and Noah Östlund were all selected in the first round of the 2022 Draft and will be a crucial part of Sweden’s offence.

Östlund, who is also making his World Junior debut, is having an incredible season with 11 points in 19 games in the Allsvenskan, making him the second-highest-scoring U20 player in the league. He’s followed closely by Öhgren, who sits second among U20 players with six goals. Lekkerimaki, the highest drafted of the three, is having a bit of a down season with just five points in 20 games, but he also picked up three points at last year’s tournament.

Fabian Lysell and Isak Rosén also return this year. Both Lysell and Rosén made their AHL debut this season and have found instant success, with both tied for first among U20 players with 14 points apiece. However, Lysell has been the more productive, reaching his total in 17 games with the Providence Bruins; it’s taken Rosén 21 games to reach the same total. Both will be expected to be the main driving force on offence, as they ranked second and third, respectively, in team scoring.

Fabian Lysell Boston Bruins
Fabian Lysell in a pre-season game with the Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Victor Stjernborg is the final returnee for the Swedes. Although he’s just 19, he’s already in his third SHL season, and this season promises to be his most productive, as he already has four points in 25 games – a previous career high. But at the World Juniors, he may be used in a more defensive role. He’s an incredibly hard worker, giving his all on every shift, no matter the assignment, and he’s already demonstrated a well-developed defensive sense. Sweden will be much tougher to play against with him on the roster.

There are plenty of forwards who could become impact players at the World Juniors, but keep an eye on Simon Robertsson. The 19-year-old St. Louis Blues prospect has the highest goal-per-game rate of any player under 25 years old in the SHL with five goals in 14 appearances. Additionally, his seven points put him fourth among U20 players in the league. One of the players ahead of him is Filip Bystedt, who has four goals and 11 points in 25 games and will be joining Robertsson in Halifax to help Sweden capture a gold medal.

Related: 2023 Guide to the World Junior Championship

The other player ahead of Robertsson is Leo Carlsson, the 17-year-old phenom who is almost guaranteed to go in the top five at the 2023 NHL Draft. In 24 games with Örebro HK, he has three goals and 14 points, the highest of any U20 player in the SHL. Internationally, he’s been just as impressive. In six appearances so far this season, he has seven goals, which leads all U20 Swedes, and 11 points, which sits tied for second. Better yet, at 6-foot-3, he could be the most NHL-ready of his draft class. This is a player who could have an Auston Matthews-type of impact at the tournament; someone he happens to model his game after. Matthews, for those that don’t remember, put up seven goals and 11 points in his draft year, helping Team USA capture a gold medal.

The last player to pay special attention to is Oskar Pettersson, a third-round pick by the Ottawa Senators. With Sweden’s U20 team, he sits tied with Carlsson with 11 points and has played 11 games in the SHL, during which he scored a goal and an assist. But it’s his play in Sweden’s J20 league that has Senators’ fans excited. In just 19 games, he’s put up 15 goals and 25 points. It’s a big jump from last season, where he showed a penchant for scoring – 25 goals in 46 games is nothing to sniff at – but wasn’t a point-per-game player. He’s not the biggest name on the team, but given the right opportunities, he could be a huge asset for Sweden.

Bottom Line for Team Sweden

Sweden is bringing a very different team to the 2023 World Juniors than they did last year. In Edmonton, they structured their team around their top goalies and defensemen, which resulted in the second-fewest goals allowed at the tournament with just seven in four games. But the strategy came at a cost; Sweden only scored 15 goals in the same amount of time, which placed them fourth. It’s a big reason why they couldn’t get past the USA or Finland, who had much more dangerous offences that picked apart Sweden’s defence.

So, this year, it’s all about offence. Lysell, Lekkerimaki, Carlsson, Oskar Pettersson, Robertsson, Rosén, Öhgren, and even defencemen Sandin-Pellikka and Jonasson have shown they can be big-time goal scorers, while Östlund, Engström, Sjöholm, and Pettersson are excellent puck movers. No matter who’s out on the ice, there will be someone who can put the puck in the net and someone else to feed him the puck.

Defensively, however, Sweden will struggle. There are a handful of players who already have plenty of defensive awareness and skills, but there are very few players whose sole job is to defend. Goaltending will also be a bit less secure than in years previous. But if the rest of the team can put the puck in the net often enough, that won’t be a problem. All you have to do to win, after all, is just outscore the other team, and the Swedes certainly look like they can handle that.

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