If you’re having a hard time comprehending how strong the Swedish roster will be at the World Cup, consider the omissions. Following Friday’s final announcement, standout blueliner John Klingberg won’t be on the roster. Neither will Gustav Nyquist, Mika Zibanejab, Victor Rask, Mikael Backlund or Rickard Rakell. All six are among the top 20 Swedish scorers in the NHL.
What appears to have been the difference-maker in the selection of Team Sweden is playing in high-pressure situations, which is to say if you played — and played well — in the 2015-16 post-season, you definitely helped your chances of making Team Sweden. Five of the additions Friday fit that bill.
Patric Hornqvist and Carl Hagelin have helped power the Pittsburgh Penguins to an Eastern Conference championship and Stanley Cup final appearance and are nice additions for different reasons. Hagelin’s speed, as we saw throughout the Eastern Conference final, can create problems for opposing defenses and he’s the type of player who can fit in on a line with just about anyone as a puck-retrieving player. That he’s chipped in five goals and 12 points in 18 games this post-season also doesn’t hurt, and this after he managed 10 goals and 27 points in 37 games for the Penguins following a mid-season trade. Read more