Here are the Swedish players we'll be keeping an eye on at the 2013 WJHC starting December 26th. This is not a ranking of their top players or prospects, just the guys that we're interested in scouting and assessing their future fantasy hockey potential.
#19 Elias Lindholm, C (2013 Eligible) - This is the kid we want to see as the scouts are raving about him and the numbers look fantastic. Just turned 18 but easily leads all U-20 SEL players with 6+15=21 in 32 games for Brynas, the defending league champs. His production this year is a bit of a surprise as he had no points in 14 SEL games last season but was named the Best Forward in the Swedish Jr. league last year with 14+35=49 in 36 games.
#15 Sebastian Collberg, RW (MTL-2012-2nd-#33) - Despite not scoring a goal in 62 SEL games over the past three seasons, this guy is a pretty accomplished goal scorer at both the Jr. and international level. He had 8+8=16 in 12 combined games at the WJCs & U-18s last season while helping Sweden to gold & silver medals. I'll be watching him closely to see if there is hint as to why he can't score for his club (other than playing just six mpg) but excels for his country.
#10 Alexander Wennberg, LW (2013 Eligible) - Wennberg is an interesting player to keep an eye on, he'll be one of the oldest prospects in the 2013 class as he missed being eligible for the 2012 draft by a matter of days. Central Scouting has him ranked at #5 amongst draft eligibles playing in Sweden. He is 2nd amongst U-20 players in scoring in the Allsvenskan with 10+8=18 in 29 games and tied for the team lead in points at the U-18s last year (3+6=9 in six games) but showed very little finishing ability with just one goal in 42 games in the Swedish Jr. league last season.
#26 Nick Sorensen, RW (2013 Eligible) - Another 2013 draft eligible on the Swedish squad is the Danish born Sorensen who is plying his trade in the QMJHL. He has 9+16=25 in 26 games for a loaded Quebec side but curiously is only ranked as the 16th best prospect in the Q by Central Scouting. He is essentially the 13th forward on the Swedish team so we'll likely not see much of him.
#9 Mikael Wikstrand, D (OTT-2012-7th-#196) - He is in his third season in the Allsvenskan and is among the dman leaders in points this year with 9+9=18 in 29 games. With all of the injuries on the Swedish backline, this Senators 7th rounder is being counted on to take on PP QB duties in Ufa.
Others to Watch:
#16 Filip Forsberg, RW (WSH-2012-1st-#11) - Is an 18-year-old veteran of the WJCs and has a lot of international experience on his resume with two U-18s, including being named the tournament's Best Forward last season. He was named team captain for Sweden, which given his age shows the type of leadership ability he has. Is the top scorer among U-20s in the Allsvenskan this year with 9+10=19 in 22 games.
#14 Robert Hagg, D (Eligible 2013) - Was a late addition due to all the injuries so we'll get a bonus look at this big kid (6'2" & 201) who is ranked as the #4 prospect in Sweden for the 2013 draft. His stats seem to indicate that he has some offensive potential.
#17 William Karlsson, C (ANA-2011-2nd-#53) - He impressed me two years ago at the U-18s with his speed and playmaking ability. After finishing top 12 in Allsvenskan scoring last year (12+33=45 in 46 games) he has graduated to the SEL this year where he is tied for 2nd amongst U-20 players with 3+13=16 in 31 games.
#29 Emil Molin, LW (DAL-2011-4th-#105) - This is the first major international tournament for the 19-year-old Molin but he had shown he can put up some points in the Swedish Jr. leagues and was a regular for the SEL champs (Brynas) last season.
#24 Rickard Rakell, RW (ANA-2011-1st-#30) - This will be his third WJC tournament and he'll be playing on the top line but given his modest production over this past three seasons in the OHL, I don't think he has a lot of offensive upside.
Who we won't see at the tournament this year: Oscar Klefbom (injured), Jonas Brodin (injured), Mika Zibanejad (not released by Ottawa) & Hampus Lindholm (injured in pre-tournament action).
Anyone I missed?... let me know in the comments.