Sweden has made their final cuts as they prepare to fly to Edmonton for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. One of their biggest rivals, Finland, has named a Florida Panthers’ prospect as their team captain for the tournament. In other action across Europe, we will check in on prospects of both the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights.
Sweden Sets its Final Roster
The European teams competing in the Junior World Championship are starting to make their trips over to North America. Well, at least, they are trying to. Before beginning their journey across the pond to Edmonton, Sweden made their final roster cuts to get their team down to 25 players.
After dealing with COVID-19 outbreak on the coaching staff, these players have to itching to get on the ice and play.
Oscar Bjerselius, Arvid Costmar, Noel Gunler, Emil Heineman, Simon Holmstrom, Alexander Holtz, Oskar Kvist, Theodor Niederbach, Zion Nybeck, Oskar Olausson, Lucas Raymond, Elmer Soderblom, Albin Sundsvik, Jonathan Wikstrom
Emil Andrae, Gustav Berglund, Tobias Bjornfot, Alex Brannstam, Philip Broberg, Ludvig Hedstrom, Albert Johansson, Victor Soderstrom,
Hugo Alnefelt, Calle Clang, Jesper Wallstedt
While a lot of attention has been given to the talent on the rosters of Canada and Russia, don’t rule out this Swedish team just yet. They will be right there in the mix to pick up their 20th medal in tournament history.
Finland Makes Easy Choice for Captain
Another team you would be foolish to count out is Finland. On Sunday, they named Panthers’ prospect Anton Lundell as their captain for this year’s tournament. He had a goal and four points during Finland’s gold medal run in 2019. An injury prevented him from playing in last year’s World Junior Championship.
The Panthers used the 12th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft to select Lundell. The knock on him coming into the draft was his “low ceiling” when it came to offensive productivity. All he has done this season is quiet his critics and ease those fears.
In 17 Liiga games with HIFK, Lundell has 12 goals and 20 points. He had 10 goals and 28 points in 44 games all of last season. He will be one of the oldest and most experienced players on this Finnish squad and will be looked up to be a leader both on and off the ice.
Dahlen Stays Red Hot
Heading back to Sweden, we take another look at Jonathan Dahlen as he continues to tear up the competition in HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s equivalent to the American Hockey League (AHL). The reigning and two-time league MVP had another big game on Sunday.
This was the second of his two goals in Timra IK’s 6-2 win over Mora IK. You can see the frustration defenders have in trying to contain Dahlen.
Dahlen finished the game with two goals and four points. He now has 13 goals and 35 points in just 15 games this season. He has 112 goals and 229 points in 211 career games in HockeyAllsvenskan. The Sharks are hoping this offense eventually translates to North America.
The Ottawa Senators originally drafted Dahlen in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in the deal that sent Alex Burrows to Ottawa. In 2019, he was dealt to the Sharks for center Linus Karlsson. He has 15 goals and 35 points in 59 career AHL games, all but seven with the Uttica Comets.
Dorofeyev Snipes One Home
Pavel Dorofeyev is another mid-round draft pick who is looking to find consistency in his game before making the full-time switch to North America. The Golden Knights selected the young winger in the third round (79th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. They are letting him take his time to develop over in his native Russia.
He showed off his quick and accurate release in Sunday’s game for Chelmet Chelyabinsk in the VHL, Russia’s second-tier league.
This was Dorofeyev’s fifth goal of the season which gives him 11 points in 25 games. He played 48 games in Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for Metallurg Magnitogorsk during the 2019-20 season. While his numbers look pretty bad, with just four goals and seven points, they are misleading as it is very difficult for young players to get meaningful ice time in Russia’s top professional league. To put those numbers in perspective, he averaged just 9:30 of ice time in those 48 games. It is hard to do much with such little time.
He had a much better showing at last year’s World Junior Championship where he scored three goals and added an assist in Russia’s way to the silver medal. As you saw in the clip above, he has a great shot with a killer release. He’s got great vision and skating ability to go with that shot and all he needs is more time to put it all together.