Early Wednesday morning, Team Sweden announced their World Junior roster.
The Vancouver Canucks won’t have a lot of representation from their prospect pool at this year’s World Junior Championship, but Team Sweden was their best bet to have prospects playing in the tournament.
Sweden’s announcement of their roster includes two Canucks prospects.
RW, 5’11”, 172 lbs, 18 years old
Right winger and 2022 first-round pick Jonathan Lekkerimäki will join Sweden at the tournament.
The 18-year-old is eligible to play in this year’s tournament as well as next winter’s run of the WJC. Lekkerimäki played for Sweden at the summer World Juniors but was not able to produce at a similar rate as we saw from him when he dominated at the U18 championships.
Lekkerimäki slid down the depth chart at the summer tournament and was held to just three assists over seven games. This was a far cry from his 15 points in six games at the U18s.
The health status of Lekkerimäki may still be in question as this tournament approaches. Lekkerimäki suffered a concussion on November 26th and has not returned to action since leaving his Allsvenskan game less than two weeks ago.
We were told that Lekkerimäki was recovering well from his head injury but there should still be concern about him being fully healthy as camp approaches.
If healthy, Lekkerimäki will be a strong candidate to play on one of Sweden’s top two lines and will surely see power play time as that’s a place where his skills shine.
LD/RD, 6’3″, 196 lbs, 18 years old
The other Canucks prospect who will be representing the Canucks at the World Juniors is left-shot defenceman, Elias Pettersson.
Or as we like to call him, D-Petey.
After being selected in the third round of the 2022 draft, it’s been an upward trending rise in the value of Pettersson as a prospect. The 18-year-old defenceman has been promoted from the J20 Swedish leagues up to the SHL and is playing in one of the top-four hockey leagues in the world.
Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) scored a doozy of an overtime winner early Sunday morning.
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) October 10, 2022
Pettersson relies on his physicality and skating but has taken a big jump in his offensive play as well. His shot from the point has become a weapon during his international play and games at the J20 level while his bread and butter of being physical and skating his way out of trouble has been shining at the SHL level over the past couple of weeks.
Our expectation for Pettersson’s spot in Sweden’s lineup is to be on the outside of the lineup looking in. There are some very talented defencemen on this roster and getting into any games will be a win for D-Petey. Pettersson is eligible to play in next year’s tournament as well, and this tournament should be looked at as another step in confidence as well as development for his own game.
Sweden’s camp opens on December 14th and they will have a week to prepare before the exhibition games in the Maritimes.
We will continue to keep you updated with all the news about Canucks prospects and will be sure to have in-depth previews ahead of the World Junior Championships.