World Juniors, Information
The Vancouver Canucks second-rounder is already trying like a steal, as he leads the WJC in factors heading into the quarterfinal. And his targets aren’t boring, both.Nils Hoglander|Kevin Gentle/Getty ImagesOSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Ultimately yr’s world juniors, Sweden received sunk by a weak offensive assault. This time, that has not been a difficulty and Nils Hoglander has been a giant cause why. The Vancouver Canucks choose was an offensive driver within the crew’s quarterfinal win over the host Czechs, tallying two targets and three factors in a 5-Zero victory.
Hoglander’s first objective noticed him have fun by ‘silencing’ the sell-out crowd by placing his finger to his lips.
“It was enjoyable to play in entrance of so many individuals,” he mentioned. “It was slightly dangerous of me, however we had the followers in opposition to us.”
With 10 factors via 5 video games, Hoglander is main the match in scoring and that offense hasn’t been of the quiet selection. After scoring a lacrosse-style objective with Rogle within the SHL earlier this season, the nifty left winger pulled off the feat once more in Trinec in opposition to Finland. The Rogle tally appeared to set off an NHL pattern, with Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov scoring in that model quickly after and quite a few others giving it a attempt. So how did a 19-year-old Swedish child muster the braveness to do it in his nation’s prime league?
“I don’t know, I simply tried it,” Hoglander mentioned. “I did it earlier than so I trusted myself to do it.”
And Hoglander didn’t fear about messing it up. Whereas he was uncharacteristically bashful with the press after the Czech win, Hoglander is clearly a assured child (I assumed he understood the gravity of the state of affairs, with Sweden now two wins away from gold, and didn’t wish to get too excessive). Canucks followers are stoked about his future in Vancouver already and whenever you see the ability set, the hype is comprehensible. The actual fact Vancouver nabbed the child with a second-round choose in 2019 makes the state of affairs all of the extra candy.
So how was he nonetheless round at choose No. 40? Throughout his draft yr, some European scouts questioned about his dimension, whereas others weren’t positive if he may very well be a go-to offensive man or extra of a secondary risk. At 5-foot-9, Hoglander towers over nobody, however he’s fairly sturdy and weighs in at 190 kilos. As for the offensive upside, he has clearly hit one other gear this season. After placing up 14 factors in 50 SHL video games throughout his draft yr, Hoglander has 9 via 19 throughout this marketing campaign – to not point out his world junior numbers.
“He has actually quick palms and a extremely fast launch,” mentioned goaltender Hugo Alnefelt. “It’s kinda onerous to learn his shot, so he has a number of good sides to his offensive sport.”
Whereas Sweden struggled to search out targets final yr, Hoglander’s line with Los Angeles Kings prospect Samuel Fagemo and Winnipeg Jets rookie David Gustafsson has led the cost in Trinec and Ostrava. Fagemo is one level behind Hoglander proper now, whereas the heavy Gustafsson was lauded by Hoglander for his faceoff prowess and energy. And naturally, Gustafsson is comfortable to have such a gifted left winger on his aspect.
“He’s such a talented participant, it’s enjoyable to play with a participant like that,” Gustafsson mentioned. “Each time I give him the puck, I simply stand by and watch him.”
However the Swedes aren’t simply right here to have enjoyable. All the way down to the semifinal, they’ve a chance to earn an elusive gold medal, one thing this system hasn’t completed since Mika Zibanejad’s crew in 2012. Total, Sweden has solely gained this match twice, with the opposite victory coming method again in 1981.
Earlier than they get that probability nevertheless, the Swedes should down tournament-favorite Russia. And whereas Hoglander is conscious of the problem, he’s not going to shrink from it, both.
“After all it will likely be a tricky sport,” he mentioned. “However we’re robust, too.”
Need extra in-depth options, evaluation and an All-Entry cross to the newest content material? Subscribe to The Hockey Information journal.
Tags: prospects, vancouver canucks, world junior championshipConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect knowledgeable at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.