Sweden scored a dramatic 1-0 overtime victory over Russia in last year's gold medal match, ending 30 years of championship futility, and will look to become the first country since Canada (2005-2009) to win consecutive gold medals.
Sweden head coach Roger Rönnberg will take 25 players to training camp on Dec. 15 in Norrtälje, Sweden, before continuing with preparation games in Finland through Dec. 22. The Swedes will open the 2013 WJC against the Czech Republic on Dec. 26. The roster must be trimmed to 23, which includes three goaltenders, by Dec. 25.
Rönnberg has six returning players from last year's team that won it all, including forwards Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall of Timrå IK, Sebastian Collberg (Montreal Canadiens, 2012) of Frölunda HC, Filip Forsberg (Washington Capitals, 2012) of Leksands IF, William Karlsson (Anaheim Ducks, 2010) of HV71, Victor Rask (Carolina Hurricanes, 2011) of the Calgary Hitmen in the Western Hockey League, and Rickard Rakell (Anaheim, 2011) of the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers.
In addition to Rask and Rakell, Ronnberg will take four other Swedish players to selection camp who are currently playing in North America, including goalie Oscar Dansk (Columbus Blue Jackets, 2012) of the OHL's Erie Otters, defensemen Rasmus Bengtsson (Florida Panthers, 2011) of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the United States Hockey League and Hampus Lindholm (Anaheim Ducks, 2012) of the American Hockey League's Norfolk Admirals and forward Nick Sorensen (2013 draft eligible) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Quebec Remparts.
Sweden will be without three key players in the lineup in defense of their gold medal -- 2012 WJC all-star defensemen Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton Oilers, 2011) and Jonas Brodin (Minnesota Wild, 2011) and forward Mika Zibanejad (Ottawa Senators, 2012). Klefbom is out with a shoulder injury and Brodin is suffering from a broken clavicle. Zibanejad, who scored the overtime winner against Russia last year, will remain in North America at the request of the Senators.
"It is a big disappointment that Ottawa does not want to release Mika to join the team for the World Juniors," Rönnberg told the International Ice Hockey Federation website. "I have asked our federation to intervene and I am confident they will. Having said that, I must focus on the players I have and I can't let [Ottawa not releasing Zibanejad] steal energy from my work."
Center Elias Lindholm of Brynas IF is one of nine top prospects on the roster eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J. Forwards Sorensen of Quebec, Alexander Wennberg of Djurgardens IF, Boyce-Rotevall of Timra IK, Viktor Arvidsson of Skelleftea AIK and Jacob de la Rose of Leksands IF, defensemen Jesper Pettersson of Linkopings HC and Linus Arnesson of Djurgardens IF and goalie Joel Lassinantti of Lulea HF are the others.
Lindholm and de la Rose are rated No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list for skaters in Sweden. Lassinantti is ranked No. 3 among goaltenders.
Lindholm, a 6-foot, 191-pound righty, projects to be a future top-six forward with star potential.
"He's a complete package," Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting, told NHL.com. "He could very well be the next Peter Forsberg. He's an excellent skater and great competitor who gives it 110 percent on every shift. He can skate, score and pass, and is physically strong even though he is a finesse type of player."
Lindholm has five goals and 17 points in 29 games for Brynas in Sweden's Elitserien this year.
The 6-foot-2 1/4, 189-pound de la Rose was a regular with Leksand in Sweden's second tier division last season and captained Sweden in the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial in August, notching one goal and three points in six games. He has two assists in three games for Leksand in the SuperElit.
"He's speedy and plays a strong two-way game," Stubb said of de la Rose. "He can pass and shoot at top speed and is always on the puck. He's a strong finesse-type player. His older brother [defenseman Erik de la Rose] also plays for Leksand."
The 2013 WJC will run from Dec. 26, 2012 to Jan. 5, 2013. All preliminary-round games will be played at the 7,950-seat Ufa Arena.
Sweden will head Group A with rival Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Latvia. The Group B field includes 2012 silver medalist Russia, the United States, Canada, Slovakia and Germany.
SWEDEN 2013 WORLD JUNIOR SELECTION CAMP ROSTER
Goalies: Joel Lassinantti, Lulea HF (2013 draft eligible); Niklas Lundstrom, AIK (St. Louis Blues); Oscar Dansk, Erie Otters, OHL (Columbus Blue Jackets).
Defense: Emil Djuse, Sodertalje (undrafted); Jesper Pettersson, Linkopings HC (2013 eligible); Christian Djoos, Brynas IF (Washington Capitals); Rasmus Bengtsson, Muskegon Lumberjacks, USHL (Florida Panthers); Tom Nilsson, Mora IK (Toronto Maple Leafs); Linus Arnesson, Djurgardens IF (2013 eligible); Mikael Vikstrand, Mora IK (Ottawa Senators); Hampus Lindholm, Norfolk Admirals, AHL (Anaheim Ducks).
Forwards: Alexander Wennberg, Djurgardens IF (2013 eligible); Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, Timra IK (2013 eligible); Viktor Arvidsson, Skelleftea AIK (2013 eligible); Sebastian Collberg, Frolunda HC (Montreal Canadiens); Filip Forsberg, Leksands IF (Washington Capitals); William Karlsson, HV 71 (Anaheim Ducks); Elias Lindholm, Brynas IF (2013 eligible); Max Gortz, Farjestads BK (Nashville Predators); Linus Froberg, Farjestads BK (undrafted); Victor Rask, Calgary Hitmen, WHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Rickard Rakell, Plymouth Whalers, OHL (Anaheim Ducks); Jacob de la Rose, Leksands IF (2013 eligible); Nick Sorensen, Quebec Remparts, QMJHL (2013 eligible); Emil Molin, Brynas IF (Dallas Stars).
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer