Sweden’s roster at the 2020 World Junior Championship has its fair share of recent NHL Draft picks and prospects that NHL teams can’t wait to see come up the pipeline. The World Juniors provides the best chance for fans to see their favorite team’s top prospects perform on the world stage, and Team Sweden has a ton of premier prospects for fans of NHL teams to anticipate. Their roster is loaded with an abundance of forward talent upfront that was drafted in the 2nd round of the past two NHL Drafts and has a defensive core that is almost entirely composed of highly touted former first-round picks by NHL Clubs.
Let’s dive right into it and outline the top NHL prospects to watch on Team Sweden’s forward group as we head into the second stage of the 2020 World Juniors.
Team Sweden Forward Prospects
While there are no standout former top-10 NHL Draft picks rostered in Sweden’s forward lineup, they do make up for it with a depth of talent that is composed of six former second-round picks. This World Juniors Championship has given fans a chance to see prospects flourish from mid-tier prospects to highly touted young phenoms that can surely make an impact at the NHL level in years to come. This especially holds true for two Swedish forwards: Samuel Fagemo and Nils Hoglander. The pair have turned into stars during the tournament as two of the most offensive players at the 2020 World Juniors.
Here are all the top NHL forward prospects on Team Sweden that you need to be watching and could be future offensive contributors on your favourite NHL team:
Nils Hoglander: Vancouver Canucks – 2019 2nd round, 40th overall
Nils Hoglander has made a lot of noise at the 2020 World Junior Championship, from highlight-reel goals to becoming a points machine on a Swedish team that has been desperate for someone to step up as a primary producer. He’s giving Vancouver Canucks fans a lot of reasons to get excited to watch his offensive creativity transfer over to the NHL level. In his first World Juniors, Hoglander has quickly become one of the most electric players in the tournament and has been able to showcase on the world stage the offensive creativity he exhibits all year with Rogle BK of SHL.
Samuel Fagemo: Los Angeles Kings – 2019 2nd round, 50th overall
Fagemo has quickly propelled himself into being one of the best players at the World Juniors, scoring goals at a torrid pace through the preliminary round. After recording just one point in five games at last year’s tournament, Fagemo is already up to six goals through four games this year and currently leads all players in goals scored. His performance on the world stage has turned him from a prospect that wasn’t on the radar for many L.A Kings fans to one of the more highly anticipated prospects in the Kings pipeline.
David Gustafsson: Winnipeg Jets – 2018 2nd round, 60th overall
The 19-year-old has already played 22 NHL games this season with the Winnipeg Jets before being loaned to Team Sweden to take on a pivotal role for the World Junior Championship. Gustaffson has only put up one goal so far early into his NHL career but has been able to rejuvenate his offensive form while in a more significant role with Team Sweden, being a prime set-up man for Hoglander and Fagemo. As a leader on the Swedish team, Gustaffson will have his skillsets put to the test in multiple pressured situations, and Jets fans will be able to see how their young prospect rises to the occasion in a leadership role.
Jonatan Berggren: Detroit Red Wings – 2018 2nd round, 33rd overall
The fringe first-rounder who the Red Wings snagged with the 33rd pick of the 2018 NHL Draft has quietly put together a very impressive offensive output through the preliminary round of the 2020 World Juniors. Over the first four games, Berggren has accumulated one goal and four assists. His secondary scoring will be crucial for Team Sweden as they enter the elimination round of the tournament. Red Wings fans should be watching to see if Berggren can rise to the occasion and take his offensive production to another level in the next stage of the World Juniors.
Karl Henriksson: New York Rangers – 2019 2nd round, 58th overall
The Rangers prospect has been tasked with centering two of the top prospects at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Centering Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond has naturally morphed Henriksson into a leadership role not only on his line but also on his team. His game compliments the two young phenoms’ talents well, and his complete game has brought stability to the line, giving Holtz and Raymond the confidence not to hold back from showcasing their offensive creativity. The way Henriksson has meshed well with other young players on Team Sweden should have Rangers fans excited to watch how he can soon fit in with their pool of young prospects in New York.
Albin Eriksson: Dallas Stars – 2018 2nd round, 44th overall
The big-bodied prospect of the Dallas Stars has been a key piece of Team Swedens 84.62% penalty kill. His defensive skills are an asset that will be crucial to Sweden making a long run into the elimination rounds on their quest to get back on the podium at the 2020 World Juniors. Team Sweden could be in for a deep run if Erikkson continues to excel in a defensive role in the second stage of the tournament.
Oskar Back: Dallas Stars – 2018 3rd round, 75th overall
As one of the returning players on Team Sweden to the World Juniors Champions, Back is set to take on a bigger role in a leadership position. While he doesn’t have a history of being an offensive producer, he is a player that can be relied on by Team Sweden and utilized in all situations, providing timely depth scoring. It will be interesting for Stars fans to watch how their 2018 3rd overall can improve at his second World Juniors.
Nikola Pasic: New Jersey Devils – 2019 7th round, 189th overall
The seventh-round pick of the New Jersey Devils has found his way into a depth role for Team Sweden. The fact that such a deep pick at the 2019 draft is playing in the biggest U20 tournament in the world for a team as stacked as Sweden less than six months after being taken in the seventh round is huge news for the Devils. While Pasic is playing in a limited role for the Swedes this year, he is still eligible to come back to the 2021 World Juniors and is looking like he could provide great value as a seventh-round pick for New Jersey. Devils fans should take the opportunity to get a look at one of the lesser-known prospects deep in their pipeline.
Photo Credit – Vancouver Canucks (Twitter)