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Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Preview: Team Sweden

Sweden enters the 2014 Olympic hockey tournament with high hopes and a new leadership core. This is no longer a group led by the likes of Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg and Niklas Lidstrom. This team will need to be led by Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Erik Karlsson.

Recent History

Sweden finished 5th in Vancouver, losing to Slovakia in the quarterfinals. They last won gold at the Olympics in 2006, where they defeated Finland by a score of 3-2.

Round Robin Opponents

Sweden will be competing in pool C along with Czech Republic, Switzerland and Latvia.

Roster Prediction

Forwards

Sweden has a high end top 6 that is led by their veterans, such as Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Niklas Backstrom, Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg and Loui Eriksson. Their bottom 6 forwards are mostly comprised of up an coming players like Gabriel Landeskog, Carl Hagelin and Marcus Kruger. The wild cards in this group are Joel Lundqvist and Jimmie Ericsson as they both play in the Swedish Elite League. Lundqvist’s short NHL career aside, they are unknown quantities on this side of the ocean.  Although the Swedes lack a grinding element, they boast talent and skill throughout the lineup that will be tough to contain.

Henrik Zetterberg – Nicklas Backstrom – Johan Franzen

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Loui Eriksson

Gabriel Landeskog – Alex Steen – Marcus Johansson

Carl Hagelin – Patrik Berglund – Patric Hornqvist 

Jimmie Ericsson

Joel Lundqvist

Defence

Sweden’s defense is top-notch while still being quite young. They have some very good puck movers in Erik Karlsson, Alex Edler and Oliver Ekman-Larsson; and some very good shutdown defencemen, such as Niklas Kronwall, Jonas Brodin and Victor Hedman. Sweden did suffer a set-back with Tobias Enstrom declining to participate to focus on Winnipeg, although this can be considered a minor set-back and should be easily overcome with their depth on the blue-line. Even though Edler is suspended for the first two games of the tournament, for his knee on knee hit with Eric Staal, the Swedes will not leave him off the roster.

Erik Karlsson – Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Alex Edler – Niklas Kronwall

Victor Hedman – Jonas Brodin

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Johnny Oduya

Goaltending

There is no question about it, this is Henrik Lundqvist’s crease. Behind him are some goalies in the pipeline that should be pushing for the starting job in 2018 (assuming NHL participation). Although Lehner has seen limited duty in Ottawa thus far, what he has shown has been excellent. Since Lehner is only 22 years old, he is a long-shot to see playing duty. Look for Enroth to take the back-up job after leading Sweden to the 2013 World Championship.

Henrik Lundqvist

Jhonas Enroth

Robin Lehner

Most likely to get snubbed

It appears that this will likely be Daniel Alfredsson, as he wasn’t invited to the orientation camp, and hasn’t been lighting it up so far this season to make the Swedish Olympic Team change their mind. With so many young players already expected to be on this roster and even more coming through the NHL, it appears that Alfredsson is no longer part of the Olympic team’s plans.

Outlook

Sweden should make easy work of their pool but the real test will be entering the elimination rounds. This is where the Swedes stumbled last time against Slovakia in the quarterfinals in 2010. Sweden is the reigning world champion, winning on the backs of the Sedins and Loui Eriksson. They will again be leaned on to produce. With elite defence and goaltending, Sweden should be considered one of the favourites to win gold.

Other Roster Previews:

November 11: Russia

November 12: USA

November 13: Sweden

November 14: Czech Republic

November 18: Slovakia

November 19: Switzerland

November 20: Finland

November 21: Canada

November 26: Latvia

November 28: Austria

December 2: Norway

December 3: Slovenia

Follow Ryan Biech on Twitter: @ryanbiech

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6 Response to Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Preview: Team Sweden

  1. Joacim Antikainen on November 20, 2013

    Victor Hedman will have to politely step aside for Niklas Hjalmarsson, Pär Mårts (and the rest of us swedes) love him, we need a hard-working shutdown D-man and he’s the guy for the job. He brings grit, shot-blocking and a heart the size of our nation’s pride. Look for him to be a lock for Sochi.
    Love your blog and these previews :)

    Reply
  2. Ilya on December 1, 2013

    Alfie not “lighting it up” enough for you? He’s got 19pts in 22 games lol. If he doesn’t play it will clearly be for other reasons, such as durability.

    Also Landeskog on the 3rd line is unlikely.

    I like the idea of Zetterberg and Franzen on the same line, this will most likely happen.

    Anyway thanks for the ideas!

    Reply
  3. James on December 8, 2013

    Alfredsson has more points than any of the right wingers listed above. He also has leadership, can play defense on the powerplay, and controls the game better than just about anybody on this team so far. Maybe Alfie said no because he wants a cup?

    Reply
    • RobTheHockeyGuy on December 9, 2013

      Alfredsson wasn't invited to the orientation camp though. Why do that if he's still on the radar?

      Reply
  4. Keith on December 30, 2013

    Too bad Paajarvi isn’t producing much, the familiarity with Berglund could have been beneficial.

    Reply
  5. Marc on January 7, 2014

    I like sweden team on offense and defense well equilibrated ! The defense gotta love it with lots of young like karlsson, omar- larsson and hedman may be will miss some physical depth.. I dunno because these kids move well the puck! But when i check the goalie … I dunno can they still trust a old lundvisq who has not prove much this year in nhl… When i check to neighbourgh gotta like the depth at goalie in finland lethonen , backstrom, renne… I like their depth…. If lundvisq dont work out for sweden who do you turn to?????

    Reply

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