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Leafs draft pick Carl Grundström to be named to Sweden’s WJC team

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The Swedish WJC team roster has leaked just in time for his birthday. It is no surprise he is on it.

foto: Kristina Gillerstedt

Yesterday was Carl Grundström’s birthday, so happy 19th, Carl.

One present he’s getting is a trip to Canada in a few days. Who doesn’t want that?

Expressen has what they say is the leaked list of the initial roster for the Swedish team for the World Junior Championships.

Right away, we should notice that there are 28 names on the list, so cuts will happen. But Grundström, who played for the junior team in the Four Nations Cup along with draft eligible budding starts Lias Andersson and Elias Pettersson, is a lock for the team.

This is not the official list; it comes out on Monday, but it seems like a reasonable assemblage of the top talent. Missing is Leafs prospect Jesper Lindgren, who has been playing moderately well in the Allsvenskan, but when you’re competing with players from the SHL and the AHL, moderately well isn’t going to get you on the roster.

The WJC starts on Boxing Day as usual, but there is a week of pre-tournament tuneup games beginning on December 19. Sweden will be practicing out of the K Rock Centre in Kingston, and they play one game there on December 22, as well as one in Cornwall on the 19th.

For the tournament itself, Sweden is in Montréal for the preliminary games, while the playoff rounds are all in Toronto, and if Sweden gets to the quarterfinals, and with that roster, it will be a shock if they don’t, Grundström will get a chance to skate out for Leafs fans at the ACC.

When he goes back home after this is all done, he goes back to work. No job in hockey is ever guaranteed, but he has seized his opportunity playing for Frölunda this year after spending his first pro year with MODO as they fell out of the SHL.

He talks about why he made the switch in an interview with Hockeysverige.se.

I liked their approach to development as Frölunda is a team that dares to play the young guys when things heat up. They have also developed a lot of young players in recent years, and it was mainly for this reason I chose Frölunda.

He also talks about his success with Frölunda and discusses how much that’s him growing as a player and how much it is the change of team.

I think I have got a lift too. I do not really know what it is, but it feels like I'm a little better with the puck and dare to do some more stuff. There is a little difference when playing in a team that is at the top. Then you don’t have quite the same pressure on you. Should we lose a game, that is not the end of the world.

It was also tough in Modo last season when we were down and lost, it was no good at all.

It is interesting to hear him, at just 19, talking about what we hear all the time as Leafs fans about a winning culture and how the team needs to learn how to win in that culture.

We should expect great things from the Swedes at this year’s WJC, and we should expect Grundström to go back to more great things on his team for the rest of the season.

As of right now, he has 10 goals in the SHL, and he, along with three other players, leads the league. He still has only one assist, however.

Last year, in the WJC, he had one goal and no assists in seven games. This year should be a lot different.