Sportsnet.ca will be projecting rosters for September’s World Cup of Hockey between now and when teams announce their first 16 selections beginning March 2. Today: Sweden.
The game is more than two years in the rear view mirror now, but the Swedes, you can bet, haven’t forgotten.
In particular, they undoubtedly believe that had Nicklas Backstrom not be nailed with a doping violation prior to the gold medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, they, and not Team Canada, might have won gold.
As it was, silver was pretty good, and looking at the roster options and depth for Sweden heading towards the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, it’s fair to say that if they can get all hands on deck for the September tournament, they should be a threat to win it all.
Watch: World Cup of Hockey Roster Announcement | March 2 at 4 p.m. ET on Sportsnet
Tre Kronor is no longer largely about the Sedin twins, but rather a new generation led by Backstrom, Filip Forsberg, Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, with veteran dependables like goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Henrik Zetterberg still on hand.
And the twins, Henrik and Daniel, of course.
Not done yet.
There’s turnover at the top of the Swedish organization with Rikard Gronborg taking over as head coach and former NHL stars Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson and Nicklas Lidstrom involved as advisors to GM Tommy Boustedt.
Twelve years ago at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, Sweden lost badly in the quarter-finals. But that was at a time when there were 50 Swedes in the league, compared to more than 70 now. Players like 23-year-old Gabriel Landeskog will be eligible to play for Sweden, while a similarly aged Canadian or American would have to play for Team North America in the 2004 World Cup.
More depth means tougher roster choices for Boustedt and Co., which is a good thing. Some good NHL players won’t be part of Team Sweden.
Head Coach: Rikard Gronborg
GM/Executive Committee Members: Tommy Boustedt (GM), Daniel Alfredsson (advisor), Mats Sundin (advisor), Nick Lidstrom (advisor)
Line 1: *Filip Forsberg *Nicklas Backstrom *Alex Steen
Line 2: *Loui Eriksson *Henrik Sedin *Daniel Sedin
Line 3: *Henrik Zetterberg *Gabriel Landeskog *Gustav Nyqvist
Line 4: Marcus Johansson Carl Soderberg Carl Hagelin
Extra Elias Lindholm
Starter: *Henrik Lundqvist
Backup: Eddie Lack
Reserve: Jonas Gustavasson
* Denotes Group of 16 named on March 2.
Names that could still make things interesting:
D Johnny Oduya, C Marcus Kruger, C Mika Zibanejad, D Alex Edler, C Victor Rask, RW Rickard Rakell, D Nicklas Hjalmarsson, RW Jacob Silfverberg, C Mikael Backlund, LW Andre Burakovsky, D Jonas Brodin, D Hampus Lindholm, RW Patric Hornqvist, G Jacob Markstrom, G Robin Lehner.