Monday, January 5, 2009

Tonight! Future Atlanta Thrashers Compete for Gold Medal!

John Tavares of Canada and Victor Hedman of Sweden--one of whom will probably have the honor of becoming an Atlanta Thrasher this summer--go head-to-head tonight in the World Junior Championship gold medal game.

I'm a bit disappointed that Team USA couldn't beat the Canadians or the Slovakians, but ah well. Excellent games, both of them, and I'm looking forward to seeing a ton of Thrashers (remember that Angelo Esposito exists as well, plus some other dude on the Swedish team) compete for some kind of prestige and glory.

James Mirtle thinks the Canadians have their work cut out for them: while Canada features plenty of highly talented players (Tavares, Cody Hodgson, Alex Pietrangelo), the Swedish team just might have a few more. They're stacked, in other words:

Sweden's leading scorer so far is Mikael Backlund with five goals, while defenceman Erik Karlsson leads the way with nine points. Both are already drafted (Backlund by Calgary, Karlsson by Ottawa), unlike 11 of their teammates who are eligible this June.

In other words, expect a lot of scouts to be in attendance on Monday night.

This is the strongest Swedish draft class I can ever remember, with Hedman to go in the top two, Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi ranked in the top 10, and David Rundblad and Jacob Josefson in the top 20.

Then there's captain Oscar Moller, who turns 20 in about two weeks and had 13 points in 30 games with Los Angeles in the NHL prior to this tournament. He and Matt Tedenby, a Devils' first rounder, could both break out in the final after scoring only once apiece so far.
Not to gloat, and perhaps it really doesn't mean anything, but your Chronicle told you many moons ago to keep an eye on that Erik Karlsson. At any rate, future Thrashers aside, it promises to be a great game. A million times more passionate and exciting than a Thrashers game.

1 comment:

Jay said...

Esposito looked good in the last two games. He kind of gained momentum as the tournament went on. When(if?) the Thrashers start trading off veterans, bring Espo up and let him take his lumps like Little did last year. Let him see what the NHL is all about, give him something to base his offseason preparation on heading into next season. He seems like a kid that needs some transition time at whatever level he goes to. Get that time over with this year while the Thrashers really have nothing to play for. Hopefully next year he can contribute.