Last week, Sweden unveiled their evaluation camp roster for the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships, which, as everybody knows, only extends the joys of the holiday season by a week and a half. Among the eight defensemen listed is Minnesota Wild 2013 second round pick (46th overall) Gustav Olofsson, a big blue liner who coincidentally models his game after NHL All-Rookie Wild defenseman (and fellow Swede) Jonas Brodin.
At the draft, Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr described Olofsson as, “a big, mobile defenseman that really jumped up our draft rankings. He’s an intelligent player with quality natural instincts for the game. We feel like his game will continue to improve as he gets stronger and gains experience.”
Gustav paid particular attention to Brodin at the 2012 WJHC–the year three Wild prospects led Sweden to the gold medal (the other two being Sweden’s captain Johan Larsson and No. 1 goaltender Johan Gustafsson).
“Just his fluidness and how he skates really stood out to me, and that’s kind of how I want to play,” said Olofsson.
Set to play for Colorado College this fall, Olofsson played just one full season in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers, but what a season it was. In 63 games, he would notch two goals and 21 assists for 23 points and a plus-11 rating. Gustav’s play would earn him a selection to the USHL’s All-Rookie Team (sound familiar?) and the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Olofsson will participate in USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp next month in Lake Placid, New York, as Team Sweden will take on the USA, Canada and Finland in practice and exhibition games. The 2014 WJHC is set for December 26th, 2013 through January 5th, 2014 in Malmo, Sweden.