18 April 2019
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2010 World Junior Championship interview with Johan Nilsson of Elite Prospects
 
 
SwedenGood day hockey enthusiasts. Prior to the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships in Saskatchewan later this week, I caught up with our insider at Elite Prospects to get his thoughts on the tournament and how he feels Team Sweden is shaping up.
 
Robin @ Chiller Instinct: Johan, Sweden is fresh off of two straight silver medals in this competition and the depth at every position is incredible. The team also has some returnees from last year's squad. Can you enlighten us on some of the kids involved and the overall feel of the club and your nation? 
 Magnus S-P
Johan @ Elite Prospects: Yeah, it’s a really strong team, both depth wise and when it comes to top end talent. This team stands out a bit since there are star players and top prospects at all positions, starting with Jacob Markström in net, defensemen like Oliver Ekman-Larsson (PHX) and Tim Erixon (CGY) and then a few offensive stars including Mattias Tedenby (NJD) and Magnus Pääjärvi Svensson (EDM - pictured right).
 
It is one of the better teams that we have brought to the tournament. At least when looking at the paper. Had NHLers Victor Hedman (TBL) and Erik Karlsson (Ottawa) been available, it would obviously had been even greater
 

Robin @ CI: Sweden nearly always puts together a strong team. Paarjarvi-Svensson is leading the eligible players in scoring I believe in the Elitserien (Swedish Elite League) with 20 points and Tedenby is someone we spoke about at great length in our very first interview together. A lot of marquee talent there when you consider the netminders and an amazing set of defensemen. Who stands out to you as the key contributors to this team and maybe someone who stands to break out into the spotlight, either drafted or undrafted?
 
Johan @ EP:  Jacob Markström is the most important player on this team. He will have to be on top of his game when playing the better team. I think he has good confidence after a great season in the Swedish Elite League with Brynäs. Defensively, I would not be surprised if 17-year old Adam Larsson will stand out and be the top defenseman on the team. Larsson will not be drafted until 2011 and is actually looking better than Hedman did two years ago.

Among forwards, I think Caps' draftee Marcus Johansson is a key-player. A strong two-way player with leadership skills and nice offensive skills. Obviously wingers Pääjärvi-Svensson and Tedenby should be forces offensively with their speed and scoring ability. Sens' prospect André Petersson falls under that category too.

The top scoring junior hockey player in Sweden this year, Marcus Krüger, is a fairly unknown player that will be very interesting to watch. He is a highly skilled playmaker. The Blackhawks drafted him in the fifth-round last summer, which seems like a steal to me.

 
 
Robin @ CI: Excellent insight there, I was relatively unaware of Krüger. An outstanding member of Djurgarden in the SEL and playing significantly for them as a junior-aged player. Team Sweden is so full of talent that there is option after option available. Chemistry is an intangible and important aspect of any short tournament. Do you see any line combinations/pairs setting up? 
 
Johan @ EP:  Going by the most recent exhibition game against Canada, the line combos were:
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
9 Mattias Tedenby (NJD) 24 Marcus Krüger (CHI) 10 Jacob Josefson (NJD)
12 Dennis Rasmussen (undrafted) 11 Marcus Johansson (WSH) 20 André Petersson (OTT)
18 Anton Rödin (VAN) 16 Anton Lander (EDM) 13 Jakob Silfverberg (OTT)
26 Daniel Brodin (undrafted) 27 Martin Lundberg(undrafted) 17 Carl Klingberg (ATL)
21 Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (EDM)    
 
That will change, as Pääjärvi Svensson will obviously not be the extra forward, but move up to the top two lines. Dennis Rasmussen will probably be the extra player, and I see Pääjärvi either playing on that top unit or on the second line.
 

LarssonRobin @ CI: Could defenseman Adam Larsson (the youngest player in the tournament) have an immediate impact, or is he in a way being groomed for later tournaments and brought along for experience? He is just 17, but a few of the 18-year-old players on this club are returnees.
 
Johan @ EP: Larsson will have an impact. In fact, I predict he will be Sweden’s top defenseman in the tournament. He is very all-round and mature and does most things right. I see him having a great tournament.
 
 
Robin @ CI: That is a heady prediction as Larsson is the youngest of the bunch. I see that he is putting up points and playing in the SEL as a 17-year-old. Valuable information about a player who is basically unknown over here; I imagine scouts will have a keen eye on him going into this summer's draft.
 
Patrice Cormier (New Jersey) has been named Team Canada captain. Tedenby and Josefsen will also be big-time contributors to Team Sweden. Do the New Jersey Devils get enough credit for the quality of players that they draft?
 
Johan @ EP: Hehe, not sure, but they know how to pick them, don’t they? I have always liked the fact that they focus more on skill and hockey sense than size. That is the way to go, especially nowadays. Tedenby and Josefson will likely have long NHL careers, both great picks.
 
 
Robin @ CI: Sweden has shown in the past that it can produce a number of really strong goaltenders.  Jacob Markstrom is much herladed and will make a push to become a Florida Panther next season I should think. What are your thoughts on the tandem in net and Anders Nilsson (New York Islanders) in specific?
 
Johan @ EP: It is a very good tandem, and perhaps the tallest/biggest one in the hockey world today? You don’t have two 6’4, 6’5 goalies on the same team very often. Markström will obviously be the starting goaltender. He had a great tournament last year, excluding the final game against Canada, when the Canadians managed to get under his skin. Hopefully he has matured a bit. Nilsson has a bright future ahead of him too. Tall, big and pretty all-round in net. Described as mentally strong and very solid.
 

Robin @ CI: Any other thoughts on Sweden, heading into the tournament?
 
Johan @ EP: I do miss a few Swedish players that I really think should have been nominated. At defense, I cannot understand why Alexander Urbom (New Jersey) was left out. He is having a good Western Hockey League season and brings size and a good two way game.  Also, the omission of Ontario Hockey Leaguer Gabriel Landeskog is an enigma. Coach Per Mårts has picked a few other role players that are nowhere near the 16-year-old Landeskog when it comes to both skill and physical play. 
 

Robin @ CI: If possible, let us catch up with you sometime during EPthe tournament, after some of the action has unfolded. My readers and I much appreciate this Johan and hope the best of the season to you. Our readers may like to see the entire listings and WJC page at Elite Prospects.
 
Johan @ EP: Sure thing.

-
24 December 2009
Robin Keith Thompson

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