2021 World Juniors: Predictions on the draft-eligible Swedes
Sweden is always a contender in the World Junior Championship. This year, a number of prospects eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft could be joining that contending team
Sweden released its selection camp for the 2021 World Junior Championship with five draft eligibles vying for a spot in the lineup.
Forwards William Eklund, Oskar Olausson, and Simon Robertsson, defender Simon Edvinsson, and goaltender Jesper Wallstedt are the five prospects that were invented to camp. Already, one of them has been pulled out of the camp due to a positive COVID-19 test. The World Juniors has strict rules for attending the World Juniors, in that players have to pass three COVID-19 tests. Unfortunately, Eklund tested positive on the first test, taking him out of the running for the spot.
For the remaining four prospects, we asked our Swedish regional scouts, Viktor Bergman and Fredrik Haak, to give their opinions on which of these prospects would be heading to Edmonton, Alberta for the World Juniors, kicking off December 25th.
Simon Edvinsson, D
The lone defender on this list, Edvinsson has spent most of the season with Frolunda J20 in the J20 Nationell, collecting a goal and five assists in 14 games. He’s also played in two SHL games with Frolunda, not yet recording a point. Edvinsson was the ninth-ranked prospect in FCHockey’s preliminary rankings for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Bergman’s prediction: “Edvinsson making the team is 50/50 in my opinion. Edvinsson is a very talented player and could possibly play as 7th D. I would love to see him this year, but I’ve decided to leave him out since the competition is so hard. The Swedish team is stacked with some really good defensemen. He will make it next year instead.”
Haak’s prediction: “For Edvinsson, I think it will be very difficult. With all his potential and talent I would like to see him as an eighth or extra defender so that he could see and learn for coming tournaments. But I do not think he will make it because Sweden has a really solid defensive side this year and I think that they will choose other players here.”
Oskar Olausson, LW
Olausson has been one of the most discussed prospects to start the 2020-21 season, thanks to his performance at the J20 Nationell level with HV71 J20, collecting 14 goals, 13 assists, and 27 points in 16 games. He’s also racked up three goals and an assist in 11 SHL games, with those three goals coming in his first three games. While Olausson was ranked 59th overall in FCHockey’s preliminary, he’s a strong candidate to be a riser as the season goes on.
Bergman’s prediction: “Olausson has had a good season so far. He’s played in the SHL regularly and has been an impact player in some of HV71’s games. I can see him making the team and having an offensive role on a second or third line.”
Haak’s prediction: “Olausson is more difficult. It has been a hype train here in Sweden after his autumn and especially after his three goals in three games in SHL. Olausson is a fantastic hockey player and I hope he will make it but I am not sure. If you would have asked me a month ago, I think I would have said no but now I will say yes if I must choose.”
Simon Robertsson, RW
Another player that has been making an impact at the SHL level, Robertsson has played eight games at the top level with Skelleftea AIK, yet to record a point. At the J20 Nationell level, he’s played 15 games, scoring nine times, adding 11 helpers for 20 points. Robertsson came in FCHockey’s preliminary rankings at 38th overall.
Bergman’s prediction: “This is a more uncertain one. With Eklund gone, I could see Robertsson make the team as a depth forward. He will probably not be the player that has the most time on ice. But with his playing style, he could be a player to throw in when you want things to happen. He has played in the SHL this fall and played well.”
Haak’s prediction: “Robertsson is a player that I would like to see in this Swedish team but he will also be on the border to make the final selection. He can play on every line of the team. Robertsson can score and be creative in the first two lines but he could play a role on the fourth line, where he works really hard and plays with a lot of energy. He will be a forward that if he makes it he will be picked as one of the last forwards but I think he could be an asset to have on the team. So I say yes to him.”
Jesper Wallstedt, G
Jesper Wallstedt is one of the top prospects in this class, at any position. And he’s making that known in 2020-21 if it wasn’t already. He’s played just one game at the J20 Nationell level, recording a shutout for Lulea HF. It now looks like he’s taken over the starting role at the SHL level, going 6-3 with a 2.06 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.
Bergman’s prediction: “No question that Wallstedt will make the team. He will probably have (Hugo) Alnefelt and (Calle) Clang with him at the tournament. The question is if it will be Wallstedt or Alnefelt who will be the starter. Regardless, the Swedish pairing is probably one of the better in the tournament.”
Haak’s prediction: “Wallstedt will for sure be one of the three goalkeepers. Together with Alnefelt, he will be in the pairing that will protect the Swedish net in this tournament.”