The New York Rangers are expected to have a few of players participate in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, and today it was announced that Nils Lundkvist and Karl Henriksson will represent them in the Czech Republic as members of Team Sweden.
#NYR prospects Nils Lundkvist and Karl Henriksson have been named to Sweden’s roster for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) December 4, 2019
The roster is not yet final, as there are three spots still to be filled, but it would be strange if Lundkvist or Henriksson were to be removed from the preliminary roster. Sweden is a team that will have a lot of attention on them, as their roster includes top 2020 NHL Draft prospects Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz.
Lundkvist — No. 28 overall in 2018 draft — is having a fine season with Luleå HF in the SHL, and has tallied a line of 4-12-16 through his first 22 games. That’s good enough for 19th in the league, and second overall among defenders.
Kodie Curran, a 29-year-old with a line of 3-17-20 in 19 games who previously played for the Wolf Pack, is the only blueliner with more points in the SHL this season. Lundkvist’s increased production is a positive development, as he appeared in 41 games last season, and tallied three goals and seven assists in 10 games played.
Henriksson — No. 58 overall in 2019 draft — has split time between Frölunda HC J20 in the SuperElit and Södertälje SK of Allsvenskan. With Frolunda the 5’9” center has posted a line of 5-18-23 in 17 games played, and with Södertälje he’s tallied one assist in 11 games played.
The Rangers drafted Henriksson in the second round of 2019 with their own pick, Matthew Robertson was selected No. 49 overall with the pick received from Dallas in the Mats Zuccarello trade, and his addition was much needed for the organization’s overall center depth.
He doesn’t get as much attention as other Ranger prospects, and here’s what Adam had to say about him in the summer during his prospect ranking series:
Henriksson is a creative center who thrives when the puck is on his stick and there is an opportunity to initiate offense. He centered Sweden’s top line at both the Hlinka/Gretzky Cup as well as the U18 World Championship, and the play often started with him. With short, rapid strides, he loves to carry the puck up the ice and set his team up for controlled offensive zone possessions.
The one ability that clearly defines Henriksson’s value is his knack for passing the puck inside the offensive zone. In particular, he is skilled at finding passing lanes while on the move. Plenty of players can make a good pass while at a standstill, but hockey is a fast, dynamic sport. Henriksson’s ability to make plays while he’s moving his feet is an extremely encouraging sign that he can produce offense at higher levels
While the World Junior Championship tournament is a small sample, it is always good to see these prospects play in a best-on-best environment. It also gives many fans an opportunity to see them play on TV, something that isn’t as readily available in the United States as say an NCAA or CHL game.
The tournament will begin on December 26, 2019, and will end with the gold medal game being played on January 5, 2020.
Stats via Elite Prospects