- Johan Mattsson– I remember Mattsson from last year because there was another Mattson at prospect camp with just that small spelling difference, and we had to keep reminding ourselves that the one with one S was a defenseman and the one with two was a goaltender. That said, I remember that he had some really solid moments, but he was not consistent and his puck handling was sometimes sloppy, which led to a few painful goals. His time with the SÃ¶dertÃ¤lje SK of the J20 Superelit leagueÂ seems to have helped quite a bit judging from his stats, so I am definitely excited to see what he will do this year on the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL.
- Ludvig Rensfeldt– Rensfeldt made an impression the moment he got on the ice — a big winger and he knows how to use his size to his advantage. His shot was really powerful but not always accurate, but the fact that he actually does things like move the puck well in his own zone really make up for that. Consistency was kind of an issue but it usually is as players develop, so I think he’s got a lot of potential. I am especially looking forward to seeing some of his more creative plays, as he was fun to watch last year.
- Joakim Nordstrom– He is the one I know the least about because I haven’t really seen him play. He’s had some time with AIK of the Elitserien (SEL, or Swedish Elite League), as well as with Almtuna IS of HockeyAllsvenskan, getting a bit of ice time in the playoffs with the former. He was also named to the U18 squad last year. I know that he’s a fast skater and he’s good at handling the puck, but that’s pretty generic information — so you can find more stats and info for him here.
All three Blackhawks prospects will attend prospect camp this upcoming weekend, so I expect to have an update for you once I’ve seen them play this year.
If you look at the roster for the U20 team, you might also recognize the following names: Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Larsson, Mike Zibanejad, Jonas Brodin, Oscar Klefbom, and Richard Rakell — all of who were drafted in the first round this year, with only Klefbom and Rakell out of the top ten. This was a spectacular draft year for Sweden that really strengthened its position as a hockey power, and these rosters can only benefit from the high-caliber players that the country is offering.
I’m already excited to see Tre Kronor in Worlds and World Juniors.Â (Speaking of which, if you missed it, theÂ WJCs schedule was released today!)
The Swedish Under20 team will go to Lake Placid to play against USA and Finland in August. The Under18 team will play in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.