By Mike Johnston – Sportsnet
Training camp site: Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden and Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Washington, Sept. 5-14.
• Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg named Sweden’s World Cup captain
• Jhonas Enroth added to Team Sweden roster for World Cup
• Hampus Lindholm to replace Niklas Kronwall on Sweden’s World Cup roster
• Rickard Rakell named to Sweden’s World Cup roster, replaces Alex Steen
Team captain: Henrik Zetterberg
Assistant captains: Undecided
• Head coach: Rikard Gronborg
• Assistant coaches: Peter Popovic, Johan Garpenlov
• GM: Tommy Boustedt
• Other Staff: Nick Lidstrom, Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson (team advisors)
• Henrik Lundqvist. The 34-year-old is coming off a 65-game campaign with the Rangers, but did miss some time in the spring dealing with neck spasms. He is vital to Sweden’s success.
• Henrik Sedin. The Canucks star is coming off one of the least productive seasons of his NHL career, but it was revealed he had been playing through a number of injuries, including a broken finger.
Key storylines entering camp…
1. Will they have enough firepower up front?
Sweden’s defence should be the envy of the tournament, but there are some questions up front. Filip Forsberg and Loui Eriksson are the only 30-goal scorers on the team and only one Swedish forward (Nicklas Backstrom) is coming off a 70-point campaign. Sweden has excellent two-way forwards but only a couple high-end offensive threats.
2. Can they perform on North American-size ice?
Even though this Swedish roster is comprised solely of NHL players, historically speaking, Team Sweden performs better on international-sized ice at these types of major tournaments. They won Olympic gold at Torino 2006 and silver at Sochi 2014, but finished fifth in 2010 when the tournament took place on the small ice in Vancouver. This Swedish roster doesn’t boast any heavy hitters and when there isn’t as much room to navigate it becomes more difficult to rely on your skill.
3. Lundqvist needs to stay healthy and be on his game.
The Swedes have a balanced roster, so it would be unfair to write them off if their starting netminder goes down. However, if Lundqvist isn’t 100 per cent or he struggles, success in this tournament could be an uphill battle. Having to turn to either Jacob Markstrom or Jhonas Enroth could impact the team’s collective confidence.
Exhibition/Preliminary round schedule:
** Sept. 8: Sweden vs. Finland at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Noon ET.
** Sept. 9: Sweden vs. Finland at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Noon ET.
** Sept. 14: Sweden vs. Europe at the Verizon Center in Washington, 7 p.m. ET.
Sept. 18: Sweden vs. Russia, 3 p.m. ET
Sept. 20: Sweden vs. Finland, 3 p.m. ET
Sept. 21: Sweden vs. North America, 3 p.m. ET