It's probably fair to say Team Sweden will have the best defensive core in the World Cup of Hockey. Out of the rosters released so far on Wednesday, the Swedes have the most defensemen announced during the unveiling of the first 16 roster spots.
Six spots have been given to blue liners on Sweden's initial 16 spots, and looking down the list of names -- featuring one Norris Trophy favorite, Erik Karlsson -- it's hard not to see why they went with a defense-heavy preliminary cut.
|F||Nicklas Backstrom||Washington Capitals|
|F||Loui Eriksson||Boston Bruins|
|F||Filip Forsberg||Nashville Predators|
|F||Gabriel Landeskog||Colorado Avalanche|
|F||Daniel Sedin||Vancouver Canucks|
|F||Henrik Sedin||Vancouver Canucks|
|F||Alexander Steen||St. Louis Blues|
|F||Henrik Zetterberg||Detroit Red Wings|
|D||Oliver Ekman-Larsson||Arizona Coyotes|
|D||Victor Hedman||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|D||Niklas Hjalmarsson||Chicago Blackhawks|
|D||Erik Karlsson||Ottawa Senators|
|D||Niklas Kronwall||Detroit Red Wings|
|D||Anton Stralman||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|G||Henrik Lundqvist||New York Rangers|
|G||Jacob Markstrom||Vancouver Canucks|
If that defensive lineup doesn't strike fear into the hearts of opposing forwards, I'm not sure what will.
Sweden isn't lacking for offensive firepower, either. The roster boasts both Sedin twins, Boston's third-highest scorer in Eriksson and Forsberg of the Predators, who notched two hat tricks within the span of three games just last week. It's certainly the most complete roster for the tournament we've seen released thus far.
And that's not even looking at the goalies. With Lundqvist holding down the fort in net for Team Sweden, they just might be the team to beat in six months.