2 years ago

2019 IIHF WC Preview. Canada, Sweden

It’s that time of year again. The 2019 edition of the IIHF World Championship is upon us. To celebrate that, Fanteam is launching a series of daily tournaments which will run up until the finals have been played. Sure enough, we at Draftgym could not ignore this large event and have come up with a series of tips dedicated to each team taking part in this year’s world forum.

In this series, we are going to take a look at elite and value picks from each team. Today's installment is devoted to Canada and Sweden. Lace ‘em up, boys and girls!



As it has always been the case, Canada is one of the picks to win it all. This year, the Canadians have brought along a relatively young roster in the hopes to make a splash and reclaim the title.

Elite D-men

Two of the elite picks here seem to be Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers and Thomas Chabot of the Ottawa Senators.

They are probably going to quarterback the power play which would be a huge boost against clearly inferior teams like Great Britain and France.

Nurse had a decent season, having posted 41 points in 82 regular season games.

Chabot was stellar for the lowly Senators and accumulated 14 goals and 55 points in just 70 regular season games (a career year for sure).

Source: (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The ability to drive play and a couple of weak teams playing against Canada during the round robin make those two elite picks.

Value D-men

It is really tough to pick value options from this set of defensemen, given how these are all solid hockey players. Still, I think the two guys that may fly under the radar a bit are Dante Fabbro and Damon Severson.

Fabbro, 20, has recently tried his fare in the NHL, managing to get one goal in four regular-season games. Fabbro could come in handy when salary relief is needed.

Severson had a fine season quarterbacking the New Jersey Devils’ power play. He has 39 regular season points to his credit.

Elite forwards

Boy, are these tough to pick or what. As it stands right now, I think the best forward of this group is John Tavares who has just had an outstanding season, even though the Leafs fell to Boston in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. His total of 49 goals (47 in regular season and two in the playoffs) speaks volumes.

Another elite pick, in my opinion, is Mark Stone. Stone is a tremendous two-way forward who drives play extremely well and should have a field day against weaker teams in Group A. He exceeded the point-per-game pace in Ottawa and continued in the same vein in Vegas (25 GP, 23 pts).

Source: The Athletic

Value forwards

Here, I am going to pick a two-player combo that you could use as mini-stacks. I am operating on the assumption that Canada’s head coach Alain Vigneault is not breaking up teammates. Pretty please?

From this formidable squad, I choose the Mantha-Bertuzzi pairing as a value pick. They have played together for a large portion of the regular season and looked pretty good.

Todd Bertuzzi’s nephew collected 47 points in 73 games while Mantha had similar success with 48 points in 67 games.

Mantha boasts good speed and good shot while Bertuzzi brings grit to the table. Don’t sleep on these two Red Wings.



Swedes are back-to-back world champions and are looking to make it a three-peat (the last team to do that was Czech Republic in 1999, 2000, and 2001). Sweden is bringing a talented squad to Slovakia, so three titles in a row are more than possible. Let us now dissect the Tre Kronor team.

Elite D-men

From what we saw during this past regular season, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Erik Gustafsson are going to anchor Swedes’ power play.

There is absolutely no reason not to pick them against teams like Italy and Austria. OEL had a pretty good season with Arizona Coyotes and almost led them to the playoffs, posting 14 goals and 44 points in the process.

Gustafsson, in his own right, turned out to be one of the best D-men of the regular season offensively (60 points and sixth overall spot among defensemen). His 17 goals are also fourth best in the league among D-men, trailing only the likes of Morgan Rielly, Dougie Hamilton, and Mark Giordano.


Value D-men

It seems clear that the other two defensemen appearing on team Sweden’s power play are value plays.

Marcus Pettersson actually spent some time anchoring the second PP unit for the Penguins, so that is nothing new to him.

Adam Larsson also saw some powerplay time for the Oilers when Oscar Klefbom was hurt. He makes a fine option on the blue line of your team. Don’t let those 20 points misguide you.

Elite forwards

Elias Petersson may have just played his rookie year in the National Hockey League, but his playmaking abilities are already through the roof, plus he can shoot the puck just like the best of them. He is the clear star of this team, and there is every reason to believe that Petersson will destroy weak Austrian and Italian blueliners.


Elias Lindholm had a pretty good season across the pond with the Calgary Flames and hovered around the point-per-game mark for the entirety of the NHL regular season (78 points in 81 games). Lindholm sees power play time alongside Elias Petersson, which is never a bad thing. At some point in time, he may be bumped to play on Petersson’s wing, and his production will increase even further.

Value forwards

There is a lot to like in team Sweden’s roster offensively, but there are a couple of options that may fly under the radar. One of them is the veteran Loui Eriksson who has been a staple of the national team in recent years.

Eriksson had two goals and an assist in a 6-4 win against Russia and was a part of the top power play unit, thus giving him the exposure to Elias Petersson. Eriksson’s age and overall quiet style of play may go unnoticed, so don’t sleep on this guy, especially if he winds up as the top line’s winger.

Jesper Bratt had a decent season in New Jersey, having scored eight goals and accumulated 33 points in just 51 regular season games. The young Devils’ winger may provide a nice salary relief against weaker teams of Group A.



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