Kruger adds vital experience
One of Sweden’s big challenges ahead this time is to replace Linus Omark’s creativity. In Korea, his seven assistants led the team in points, but it was the last international activity for the 34-year-old, who continues to score goals freely with Luleå. Garpenlov can, however, invoke the highly titled Marcus Kruger, who last played Olympic hockey in 2014. The 31-year-old center won a silver medal for his efforts in Sochi and can also boast of the Stanley Cup from 2013 and 2015, plus World Cup gold in 2017. He finished a A 524-game NHL career when he left the Blackhawks in 2019 to return to Europe, but Kruger has remained a key figure at Swiss ZSC Lions Zurich, where he carries the “A”. His experience will be crucial in this tournament.
Kruger is not the only player with Olympic experience. Sweden also has three returnees from 2018 among its forwards. Anton Lander led the team to the finish in PyeongChang. The 30-year-old center had a great season in 2018, after his Olympic debut with a Gagarin Cup triumph at Ak Bars Kazan. He also played well at the 2019 World Cup in Slovakia. His international experience, together with a stable season in Switzerland with EV Zug, gives him a second Olympic invitation here.
Dennis Everberg, currently in Rogle, was the only player who was on Sweden’s two World Cup lists in 2017 and 2018. He also went to PyeongChang, where he had a goal and an assist in four matches but has not done so. has been called to another international tournament since then. Carl Klingberg is another Olympic returnee, having made an appearance at the 2018 Games. Like Lander, he currently plays his club hockey with Zug.
CSKA Moscow provide two forwards to Garpenlov’s team. Lucas Wallmark moved to the KHL this summer after five seasons in the NHL. He took some time to adjust to life in Russia, but has picked up his scores in recent months and confirmed a one-year contract extension with Army Men last week. Joakim Nordström made a similar trip and arrived in Moscow from Calgary. He suffered an injury just a couple of weeks into his CSKA career, but the 29-year-old, a 2017 world champion, is back in full condition now.
Although Tre Kronor largely had experience when they named this list, there is room for a rising star. Pontus Holmberg, 22, signed an initial agreement with the Maple Leafs last summer before returning to Växjö Lakers on loan. There he enjoys the most productive season of his career so far, with 28 (10 + 18) points in 33 games. It represents a build-up from a hugely successful play-off last season, where he collected 14 (7 + 7) points in 14 games to help the Lakers win the Swedish championship. Today’s Olympic call continues his progress in the international arena after making his World Cup debut last season.
Max Friberg, junior world champion in 2012, was another World Cup rookie last semester and the 29-year-old Frolunda winger returns to this team.
Jacob de la Rose comes with extensive NHL experience after seven seasons with Montreal, Detroit and St. Louis. The 26-year-old is not naturally productive but plays a rock-solid two-way game.
Sweden also has several players entering their first international tournament. Farjestad captain Linus Johansson, 29, and 31-year-old Daniel Brodin, currently in Friborg-Gotteron, are perhaps the most experienced of these. Both have been in the Euro Hockey Tour action before. At the same time, the 27-year-old former winger Mathias Brome from Detroit has a couple of dozen NHL appearances under his belt. Oskarhamn’s Fredrik Olofsson, 25, completes the party.