FCHockey
Staff
December 17, 2022

Carlsson, Lekkerimaki front Sweden at the 2023 World Juniors

Leo Carlsson, a projected top-5 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, and Vancouver Canucks prospect Jonathan Lekkerimaki, will lead Sweden into the 2023 World Junior Championship.

The pair will be joined by 22 of the best U20 players Sweden has to offer as they travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick, for the tournament beginning December 26, 2022.

Sweden is slotted as the second-ranked team in Group A, joined by defending champion Canada and Czechia, Germany, and Austria.

Carlsson is arguably the top prospect in this year’s NHL Entry Draft outside of Connor Bedard, Matvei Michkov, and Adam Fantilli. Carlsson, currently slotted in at No. 5 in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2023 draft, has 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 25 games for Orebro HK in the SHL.    

Acclimating particularly well as a 17-year-old playing in one of the top leagues in the world, Carlsson will look to challenge the current top three in draft positioning.

“He plays with such a smartness and confidence in everything he does and could, with a great WJC for sure, make a move towards top-3 for the next year,” FCHockey scout Fredrik Haak said. “He has the whole package — size, frame, skills, and the right mentality.”

Joining Carlsson in a potential top-six role, Lekkerimaki will look to put a rough start to his season with Djurgardens IF in his rearview mirror. Drafted in the first round mainly because of his upper-echelon shot, Lekkerimaki has only registered a single goal in 20 games in the HockeyAllsvenskan this season. Sweden will need the best version of Lekkerimaki if they are to challenge Canada for the top spot in the group.     

Carlsson and Lekkerimaki will join fellow first-round selections Liam Ohgren of the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres prospect Noah Ostlund

Beginning in 2007, the Swedes went on an unprecedented 54-game win streak during the preliminary rounds until falling to Russia in the 2021 bubble. Sweden has since lost in the opening round in back-to-back tournaments after falling to the USA last year.

Sweden will begin their quest for gold on December 26, as they take Austria in their opening game.

Here’s a look at the full roster to represent Sweden at the 2023 World Junior Championship:

Forwards

Filip Bystedt, Linkoping HC (San Jose Sharks); Leo Carlsson, Orebro HK (2023 NHL Draft); Jonathan Lekkerimaki,, Djurgardens IF, (Vancouver Canucks); Fabian Lysell, Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins); Milton Oscarson, Orbero HK (undrafted); Oskar Pettersson, Rogle BK (Ottawa Senators); Simon Robertsson, Skelleftea (St. Louis Blues); Isak Rosen, Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres); Victor Stjernborg, Vaxjo Lakers HC (Chicago Blackhawks); William Stromgren, Brynas IF (Calgary Flames); Fabian Wagner, Linkoping HC (Winnipeg Jets); Liam Ohgren, Djurgardens IF (Minnesota Wild); Noah Ostlund, Djurgardens IF (Buffalo Sabres). 

Defensemen

Adam Engstrom, Rogle BK (Montreal Canadiens); Ludvig Jansson, Sodertälje (Florida Panthers); Hugo Janasson, IK Oskarshamn (undrafted); Jakob Noren, MoDo Hockey (undrafted); Calle Odelius, Djurgardens IF (New York Islanders); Elias Pettersson, Orebro HK (Vancouver Canucks); Axel Sandin Pelikka, Skelleftea (2023 NHL Draft); Victor Sjoholm, HV71 (undrafted). 

Goalies

Ian Blomquist, Vasteras IK (undrafted); Marcus Brannman, Dubuque Fighting Saints (undrafted); Carl Lindbom, Djurgardens IF (Vegas Golden Knights).

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