Dec 3, 2012, 2:57 PM EDT
On Monday, Team Sweden took the first step in defending its World Junior championship by unveiling the selection camp roster for the 2013 tournament in Ufa, Russia.
Leading the way is a pair of highly-coveted prospects: Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm, taken sixth overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and Filip Forsberg, taken No. 11 overall by Washington.
Forsberg was part of last year’s gold medal-winning team — Sweden’s first WJC title in 31 years — but Lindholm was not. In fact, Forsberg is one of only six returnees, along with Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, Sebastian Collberg, William Karlsson, Victor Rask and Rickard Rakell.
As such, the biggest story for Team Sweden is who’s not there to defend gold.
Three key members of the 2012 team won’t play this year — Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom, Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin and Ottawa forward Mika Zibanejad.
Brodin and Klefbom, an all-star from the ’12 tourney, are both out with injury. Klefbom’s shelved with a shoulder issue while Brodin broke his clavicle while playing for Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in Houston.
Zibanejad, who scored the tournament-winning OT goal in last year’s gold medal game, will remain in North America at the request of the Senators — a request that isn’t sitting well with Sweden head coach Roger Ronnberg.
“It is a big disappointment that Ottawa does not want to release Mika to join the team for the World Juniors,” Ronnberg told IIHF.com. “I have asked our federation to intervene and I am confident they will.
“Having said that, I must focus on the players I have and I can’t let [Ottawa not releasing Zibanejad] steal energy from my work.”
For the full Team Sweden roster, click here.
- After prepping for three years, Franson excited to test free agency 7
- Sabres’ Kane (shoulder) ‘ahead of schedule’ with recovery 16
- Lightning ‘answer the challenge’ in Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final 37
- Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot 20
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers 76
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 32
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 58
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 14
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 46
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 18
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (77)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (76)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win (58)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)