International Ice Hockey Federation

Sweden focused on success

Sweden focused on success

Tre Kronor looks to North America

Published 05.05.2017 13:55 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
Sweden focused on success
The last time Gabriel Landeskog played an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Sweden won gold on home ice in Stockholm in 2013. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
With a new coach and with an abundance of NHL-tested skaters in the lineup, Sweden tries to get back into medal contention.

After winning gold on home ice in 2013 and then a bronze in 2014, Sweden has finished 5th and 6th respectively in World Championship competition. Always a threat, Sweden is focused on rejoining the medal hunt. To that end, they have assembled on paper one of their most skilled teams in recent World Championship play. With almost a dozen NHLers on the roster, the pressure is on for Sweden to put up a good showing here in Germany.


34-year-old Viktor Fasth is returning to the national team once again. Fasth was the hero for Sweden in 2011 at the World Championships in Slovakia through to the finals. He was a rock until the third period of the gold medal game against Finland. Going into the period, Sweden and Finland were tied 1-1. Fasth gave up five even strength goals on ten shots over the final twenty minutes, resulting in a 6-1 rout by Finland. Fasth has spent some time in the NHL, with stops in Anaheim and Edmonton. Carolina Hurricanes netminder Eddie Lack is making his national team debut. Niklas Svedberg spent one season with the Boston Bruins in 2014-15 before signing with Salavat Yulayev Ufa, where he now plays. 


Sweden has a talented group of defenders who can skate, pass and generate offense. John Klingberg scored a career-high 13 goals this season for the Dallas Stars. In three full seasons in the NHL, Klingberg has established himself as a top four defenseman. This season started in disappointing fashion but he had a strong second half but it was not enough to push Dallas into the playoffs. Tampa duo Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman should be a big influence on defence. Hedman put together the best offensive numbers for a Tampa Bay defenceman with 16 goals and 72 points. Hedman’s strength is being able to move from defence to offense and carry the puck effectively out of his own zone. Hedman has worked well when paired with Stralman who, over the past five years, has become a very dependable skater, first with the Rangers and now Tampa Bay. Arizona standout Oliver Ekman Larsson is another offensively skilled player who has done well in this tournament. At the 2015 World Championships, Ekman Larsson registered 12 points, including 10 assists.


Gabriel Landeskog has a long history of representing Sweden. First at the U18 in 2009 through to his senior men’s team debut in 2012 at the World Championships in Sweden, Landeskog’s NHL season with the Colorado Avalanche was statistically the worst of his career, failing to crack 20 goals over a full season for this first time. Landeskog dealt with the inevitable expectations that come with being the captain of a team and a five-year NHL pro. There were even trade rumors. Joel Eriksson Ek is a player to watch. The twenty-year-old started the season with the Minnesota Wild and scored in his NHL debut. Eriksson Ek was reassigned back to his Swedish club Farjestad BK before coming back to Minnesota to finish the season. In all, he scored three goals and seven points in 15 games. As captain of the Swedish U20 team, Eriksson Ek led his team to the bronze medal game while leading Sweden in scoring with nine points in seven games. Denis Everberg scored 18 goals with Vaxjo. Carl Klingberg joins his brother John in representing Tre Kronor. William Nylander is the next generation in the Nylander family to play for Sweden. Nylander’s father, Michael, won two gold, three silver and three bronze medals playing for Sweden in this tournament. Nylander scored 22 goals and 61 points for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Linus Omark led Sweden with six helpers in 2016 and a returing member of the 2010 team that came to Germany. Carl Soderberg is representing his country for the first time at the World Championships. He participated in the World Cup of Hockey last September. Marcus Kruger, William Karlsson, Victor Rask, Joakim Nordstrom and Elias Lindholm should help. These skaters were added after their respective NHL clubs were eliminated from the playoffs. Joel Lundqvist has won two World Championship gold and two bronze medals playing for the national team. 


Rikard Gronborg succeeds Par Marts. Gronberg served as an assistant coach on the men’s national team for four seasons. Gronberg coached the U20 national team for three seasons. Gronberg is assisted by Johan Garpenlov. Garpenlov played 10 NHL seasons for the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers and Atlanta Thrashers. He also served as an assistant coach for Sweden’s World Cup of Hockey team in 2004 and for Djurgarden Stockholm, and worked as a scout for the Dallas Stars. Peter Popovic played for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins during eight NHL seasons. He has been working as an assistant coach for the Swedish men’s national team since 2011. 

Projected results

Sweden is a perennial contender for a medal in World Championship play. The results over the previous two campaigns were disappointing but a glance at this year’s roster suggests that Swedish leadership desires getting back to medal contending status immediately. This is one of the better teams in the Germany group in 2017 and pressure will be on to start strong in the Preliminary Round. Sweden has the talent to go deep here and possibly find themselves vying for gold. But so much will defend on quality defense to match what is a talented offensive lineup. 


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