Last year about this time, we projected what the rosters for the top seven hockey-playing countries would look like for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics (and reposted it in October). Well, now is a pretty good time to take a second look at those roster projections and make any necessary adjustments.
Instead of doing all seven teams in one gargantuan blog post, we are doing this over the course of a few days. After going through the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Finland, we’re now onto the big boys. First up is your defending champion from 2006, Team Sweden.
Henrik Zetterberg-NICKLAS BACKSTROM-Johan Franzen
Daniel Sedin- Henrik Sedin-Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas-Holmstrom-Patrick Berglund-Loui Eriksson
P.J. Axelsson-Sammy Pahlsson-Mikael Samuelsson
Mats Sundin-Tony Martensson
Just missed: Kristen Huselius, Fabian Brunnstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom-Niklas Kronwall
Alex Edler –Mattias Ohlund
Henrik Tallinder-Kim Johnsson
Just missed: Tobias Enstrom, Johnny Oduya
Just missed: Johan Hedberg
Skinny: Wasn’t able to find any online odds for the tournament, but here’s guessing the Swedes will be behind the Canadians and Russians in that department. If that’s the case, consider Sweden the best value pick in the field. This team is every bit as talented as the one that conquered the world in 2006.
Sure, Canada and Russia should be better, but Sweden is also the only team in the top six outside of the Czech Republic that knows right now who the starting goaltender will be, and “King Henrik” has been a beast in international play.
The top six forwards are fabulous, and there is plenty of youthful energy combined with veteran grit throughout the lineup. Having defensive-minded guys like Pahlsson and Axelsson is an advantage – it is tough for Canada and Russia to leave all-star caliber guys at home in favor of glue guys.
Who Backstrom plays with should be an interesting story. The Sedins are almost certain to play together, so it seems like putting him with the Red Wings makes sense – Zetterberg can handle the important draws.
Leaving off Enstrom was tough, but Lidstrom and Edler can run the power play and Enstrom’s size could be exploited on the smaller ice. Look for Hedman to be on this team if he is as NHL ready as Drew Doughty and Zach Bogosian proved to be. Provided Lundqvist is healthy and at his peak, don’t be surprised if the Swedes upstage Canada and Russia and end up with a golden repeat.
TUESDAY: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
- June 3:Team Czech Republic
- June 4:Team Slovakia
- June 5:Team Finland