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Photo Credit: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

CanucksArmy World Junior Recap: Sweden 7 – 2 Switzerland

With a stacked roster around Vancouver Canucks prospect Elias Pettersson and big names like Lias Andersson, Erik Brannstrom, and Rasmus Dahlin, Team Sweden is widely viewed as the favourites to win the 2018 World Junior Championship. Against Switzerland, however, Sweden had some struggles early in the game.

At first, everything went according to plan, as Andersson got the go-ahead goal – as always, on the power play – assisted by Alex Nylander and Pettersson.

But shortly after, Nicolas Muller came in with a strong forecheck and made Linus Hogberg pay for a risky play in front of his own net.

Meanwhile, Rasmus Dahlin, the top prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft, was lost in a dream world where chin guards taste like candy canes.

What followed was a game of turnovers. Andersson, Axel Jonsson Fjallby, and Marco Miranda all profited from bad turnovers by opposing defencemen, resulting in a 3-2 score after two periods.

In the third, Sweden left their opponents little chance. Pettersson opened the scoring for the period with this accidental tally that was meant to set up Andersson.

After that, there was some more wonderful hockey, but I know there’s just one thing left you want to see:

What. A. Goal.

Sweden beat Switzerland 7-2, and overall, it’s fair to say they won in dominant fashion.

Notes

Elias Pettersson (2017 VAN 1st)

Just like on Thursday against the Czech Republic, Pettersson had a relatively quiet game. It’s not like he had a bad game; he just didn’t stand out much on even strength either. On the power play, it’s always a different story because Sweden’s top unit is insanely good. But on even strength, there wasn’t much from Pettersson.

Okay, he scored a mesmerizing goal. But prior to that, he was pretty average. Now, I must say, if Pettersson is rather average for most of his games but has a ridiculous highlight-reel goal and a couple of outstanding power-play sequences with the Canucks, I’ll be totally okay with that.

Pettersson is now tied for the tournament lead in goals (4) and points (6).

Timothy Liljegren (2017 TOR 1st)

No matter what Toronto Maple Leafs fans tell you, Timothy Liljegren did not (only) drop to 17th overall because he had mono. It might’ve played a part in his performances throughout the year, but there were other reasons – related to his skill-set – that justified him falling to the 15 range.

Sometimes, he does things like this, though.

Liljegren is a fantastic prospect and the Leafs are lucky to have him. There is no way to argue against that without looking like a fool.

Axel Jonsson Fjallby (2016 WSH 5th)

Axel Jonsson Fjallby is starting to make the Washington Capitals’ European scouting staff look like geniuses. He’s been doing exactly what’s missing from Pettersson’s game in this tournament: consistently creating offensive chances on even strength.

The Swede is not only a hard-working speedster, he also displays great awareness and vision.

Jonsson Fjallby was a CHL Import Draft pick by the Prince George Cougars in 2016 but decided to stay and Sweden. It looks like he made the right choice to develop, but the way he’s playing, it can’t be long before we see him in North America and quite possibly in the NHL.

Tim Soderlund (2017 CHI 4th)

In junior hockey, Tim Soderlund is another player who looks like a major draft steal. The Chicago Blackhawks picked him up in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, but his speed and skill are easily on first-round level. The issue: He’s listed as 5-foot-9, and we know what that means for the NHL draft.

Soderlund had a fantastic game against Switzerland, and scored a beautiful goal.

Soderlund has an incredible scoring drive and has no problems driving hard to the net despite his small frame. The NHL has a growing number of relatively short players, and Soderlund could become one of them in a few years.

  • When you watch Sweden play, you notice Petterson is the player that sets the table, changes pace, and can speed up or slow down the play. Despite his goal output his poise and playmaking are even better. What a stud elite prospect, I can see why he’s not only leading this tourney in scoring with a flu, but leading men in the SEL at 19 at record pace ahead of Forsberg, Naslund, and Sundin in a modern era. Imagine when he fills out in his 6’2 frame. Like I said, “what a Stud”. Him and the modern day incarnation of Mike Bossy, being Brock Boeser, should manage to score at the top of the league for many years too come. My hats off to Jim Benning. He has definitely restocked the prospect cupboard since assuming his role and will continue to do so with his eye for talent during this phase of lotto eligible drafting.

    • I suspect it means not looking more dominant against the lesser teams you see in the round robin.
      I personally would wait to judge his play once the games mean something.

  • I can’t help but marvel at the continual assessment of his average play while he is tied for the league lead in goals and assists. It’s like Boeser’s gradual acclimation to the NHL at a point per game pace. Don’t wake me up, please, I’m enjoying this.