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Anton Stralman, Victor Hedman named to Team Sweden's World Cup of Hockey roster

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is expected to lead Team Sweden in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey 10 years after leading Sweden to a gold medal in the 2006 Turin Olympics.

Lundqvist was one of two goalies and 16 players named to Team Sweden's initial roster Wednesday. Sweden held its North American-based press conference at MSG Training Center, the Rangers' practice facility.

Lundqvist also helped Sweden win the silver medal in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Sweden lost 3-0 to Canada in the gold-medal game.

Eleven other players from Sweden's 2014 Olympic team joined Lundqvist on the initial World Cup roster announced Wednesday. Four of the players named also played with Lundqvist at the 2006 Olympics.

Vancouver Canucks forwards Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, along with Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall and forward Henrik Zetterberg, join Lundqvist from the Olympic gold- and silver-medal winners on Sweden's World Cup roster.

Zetterberg was Sweden's captain in Sochi but was limited to one game because a back injury forced him to withdraw from the tournament.

Forwards Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals), Loui Eriksson (Boston Bruins), Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche) and Alexander Steen (St. Louis Blues), and defensemen Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators), Niklas Hjalmarsson (Chicago Blackhawks) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona Coyotes) are back from the 2014 Olympics.

The Sedins, Eriksson and Landeskog helped Sweden win gold at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.

Tampa Bay Lightning defensemen Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg and Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom also were named to Sweden's roster.

Markstrom also was part of Sweden's 2013 World Championship team, serving in a backup role to Los Angeles Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth for the majority of the tournament.

Hedman was the most surprising omission from Sweden's Olympic roster two years ago. The 6-foot-6, 223-pound defender has 36 points in 62 games this season after helping the Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Final last season with 14 points in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Hedman hasn't played for the Swedish national team since the 2012 IIHF World Championship. Stralman hasn't played for Sweden in an international tournament since the 2009 World Championship.

Forsberg made his national team debut in the 2015 World Championship, where he finished with eight goals in eight games.

Strength of team: Goaltending and puck possession. Lundqvist will give Sweden a chance in every game, but Team Sweden should be able to help him by possessing the puck in the offensive zone. Sweden national teams always have been built on skill and smarts, and this roster appears no different.

Weakness of team: Lack of righties. The one area Team Sweden might need to address when it names its final seven players is shooting side. Three of the 14 skaters named to the roster Wednesday are righties.

Biggest surprise: None. Sweden's depth is so strong that every player named to the roster Wednesday not only is deserving, but was expected to be on the final 23-man roster. That they got on in the top 16 is not a surprise.

Biggest omission: John Klingberg. The Dallas Stars defenseman is fourth among all Swedes, third among all defensemen, and tied for 20th in the NHL with 53 points this season. He is a right-handed shooting defenseman.

Roster

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, G

Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks, G

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes, D

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, D

Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks, D

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators, D

Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings, D

Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning, D

Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals, F

Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins, F

Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators, F

Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche, F

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, F

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, F

Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues, F

Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings, F

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