When the Panthers selected goaltender Jacob Markstrom from Sweden last June with the 31st selection in the NHL Entry Draft, director of amateur scouting Scott Luce said the 18-year-old projected as a “franchise, elite No. 1 goalie.”
Seven months later, Markstrom is living up to his advanced billing.
Not only is Markstrom the leading goaltender at the World Junior Championships (WJC) in Ottawa, but he will try and help Sweden to its first WJC title since 1981 when they meet Canada in tonight’s final.
Team Canada, shooting for its fifth consecutive title, will meet Markstrom and Sweden at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. The Swedes will be attempting to avenge their overtime loss in last year’s finals to the host country.
The game can be seen on the NHL Network and TSN beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Markstrom, who’s playing in the Swedish Elite League this year, has been remarkable so far in the WJC. He’s stopped 104 of the 109 shots he's faced and three of those five goals that he has allowed have come off the power play. He also shut out the highly-skilled Russians 5-0.
Markstrom leads the tourney with a 1.25 goals against average and a .954 save percentage.
“Jacob’s game effectiveness throughout the tournament so far has been good,” said Luce. “What has impressed me most is his ability to stay focused throughout the game even though he is not being constantly tested. He has shown good timely and big save capacity so far.
“Playing in the Swedish Elite League has helped him develop the mental and physical side of his game. One of the things we liked most about Jacob prior to drafting him was his mental skills. Playing in the gold medal game will only help his development as a goaltender.”