After the KHL, also Swedish Elitserien seen the end of the championship, but in a different fashion. Farjestad only needed five matches to get rid of HV71, with a great performance by Jörgen Jönsson. The veteran has scored his 246th goal and will retire as a reigning champion.
To summarize the Swedish season we chatted once again with Swedish expert Nils-Petter Dufva.
THW: Hello Nils-Petter. Welcome back. So, can you tell us briefly about the Elitserien finals?
NPD:: It’s quite simple to answer. The favorites Farjestad won rather easily 4-1 the series. They had an amazing playoff run, where they won 12 games and lost only one.
THW: And who was in your opinion the playoff’s MVP?
NPD: Their goalkeeper, Jonas Gustavsson. Nobody can say anything different.
THW: And who was the best player for the runners-up?
NPD: I would say the youngster Mattias Tedenby. He got his officially breakthrough in the playoffs.
THW: Interesting. And what kind of chances he has in the NHL?
NPD: His chances should be good I think. The only thing that can stop him, in my opinion is his small size.
THW: Do you think he will cross the Atlantic this summer or will he wait a further season?
NPD: He stays for another year. It´s not 100% clear, but it’s for sure the way it’s going to be.
THW: And since we’re talking about future North American players, do you think that Hedman will play the next season already in the NHL?
NPD: Yes, it seems to be like that.
THW: Do you think he can play in the NHL straight away?
NPD: Yes! He’s that good. And he has the size for it. And if he goes number 1 or 2 in the draft no team will put him in the AHL.
THW: Do you expect seeing him playing in Tampa?
NPD: Yes. I think Tavares is going to be picked by Islanders. But If I where Islanders I would pick Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson. He is great.
THW: Better than Hedman?
NPD: That’s what I think. He has much more potential. He’s one year younger and he was one of the best in last WJC.
THW: And getting back to the Elitserien season, who was the surprise of the season?
NPD: Skelleftea. The most experts’ prediction was that they where going to miss the playoffs – somebody even thought they were going to be relegated. But they went to the semifinals.
THW: An event that made lots of noise was the double-signing by Dynamo Moscow of Linus Omark and Johan Harju. What do you think about this move?
NPD: Brilliant! Why should Omark for example go to Edmonton when he for sure has to play in AHL and get a bad paycheck, when he can go to a better league and get more money? Better for his wallet and his career.
THW: Why do you think it’s better for his career to play in the KHL?
NPD: It’s simple. It’s better hockey in the KHL, than in the AHL.
THW: A player that surely would interest our readers is Peter Forsberg. Can you tell us about his return and how he played?
NPD: He had problems with his foot. Everyone could say. But Forsberg is a great player and he scored a beautiful goal in his first game. He was one the best in the league even though he wasn´t near to play on his full capacity.
THW: Is he still very popular in Sweden?
NPD: Yes, of course!
THW: How does his popularity ranks compared to NHL players like Naslund, Lindstrom, the Sedins, etc?
NPD: He’s still more popular. Only Lidstrom and Sundin are at the same level.
THW: Do you know about any Swede player who will move to the NHL this summer?
NPD: No! Not yet. Maybe Jonas Gustavsson… and a defender in Brynas, Jonathan Carlsson but he will most likely play in the minor leagues.
THW: Will the Elitserien change some rules for the 09-10 season?
NPD: No big changes, as far as I know.
THW: So, can you tell us briefly the league’s formula?
NPD: 12 teams, 8 to playoffs, and the last to a relegation series against the 4 best teams in the second division. In the relegation series all the teams play against each other twice and the two best teams will play in the Elisterien next year.
THW: Let’s pass to the upcoming WC. How would you rate Sweden’s chances?
NPD: It would be a big surprise if they won. I think it’s going to look like last year. Russia and Canada are the favorites, Sweden, Czech Republic and Finland are the outsiders.
THW: And what about the WJC Under 18 that are running in Fargo?
NPD: We have a great chance for medal. But I think Canada will win the gold, as always in junior tournaments.