Three players to watch for Team Sweden at the 2021 WJC
Head coach Joel Ronnmark: OK so this is not a player, but what he does will impact lots of them. A fixture behind the Swedish U20 bench, Tomas Monten will not participate due to COVID-19 restrictions. An attempt to put Daniel Alfredsson and Kitchener’s Andreas Karlsson behind the bench also failed, leaving Ronnmark as Sweden’s bench boss. Ronnmark is the head coach of Vaxjo’s U18 team and was tasked with taking the lead after four of Sweden’s coaches failed to make it through COVID-19 protocols. The Swedes have not lost a preliminary game in 13 years and that will be the first order of business. With a strong defensive core, and excellent goaltending, the Swedes are missing some firepower up front. But there’s still Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond to deal with. Without a doubt, the Swedes will be the most fascinating team to watch in this event.
Alexander Holtz/Lukas Raymond, RW: For years these “unofficial twins” have been mentioned in the same vein. It happened most recently at the 2020 draft where Raymond was selected fourth overall by Detroit, while Holtz was taken three picks later by New Jersey. Raymond is a gifted playmaker who was elevated to the top six and first power play unit status in the SHL before joining the national team. Holtz is a shooter, who can score from anywhere. He’s a responsible winger with some size and grit to his game. Expect both players to put up similar numbers atop the Swedish team table.
Philip Broberg, D: Will have a chance to get used to his surroundings in Edmonton and he may very well end up staying there after the tournament ends. The eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft has Oilers fans drooling. Broberg’s ascension to the top 10 of that draft started at the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup played, you guessed it, at Rogers Place. A big, rangy defender who skates like the wind, he surprised everyone with his numbers last season and now he has become the talk of Sweden’s deep and experienced defence corps.