Though he may model his play after Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin, Gustav Olofsson’s Colorado College player profile lists his favorite player as another young Swedish blue liner–Erik Karlsson. Why not be a little bit of both?
After being the only NCAA invitee to Sweden’s U-20 WJHC training camp, Minnesota’s top selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft blew the doors off their hinges with an outstanding three-point game against Norway today. Olofsson would get Sweden on the board just 3:26 into the game after Norwegian forward Jens Tonjum bumped his own goalie while on the backcheck. Olofsson would have all the time he needed to blast a low slapper over the sprawling Norwegian netminder.
Olofsson found himself on the score sheet later in the first period after feeding Andre Burakowsky with a pass from the point for a one-time power play blast to put Sweden up 3-0. The Colorado College freshman defenseman would get back on the board in the third period as he started the breakout, passing the puck to Filip Forsberg who drove towards the net before niftily dropping the puck back to Elias Lindholm for a high power play snipe over the left shoulder of goaltender Henrik Haukeland. It was now 9-0 Sweden. Nick Sorensen would seal the deal with another late power play beauty as Sweden cruised to a 10-0 victory over Norway.
In total, Olofsson would score a goal and two power play assists for three points, a plus-3 rating and three shots on goal. He was one of seven Swedish players to notch three points in today’s game and was the only defenseman to do so. He, of course, also had the honor of collecting the team’s game-winning goal.
“I thought we played well,” said Olofsson. “We came out strong and dictated the tempo. We played all 60 minutes even though we were up 6-0 after the second period. We still kept going and pushed all the way through, which I think is important for us to grow and be ready for the next game.”
With the win, Sweden remains undefeated heading into their New Year’s Eve matchup with Russia.
There’s no question Olofsson’s stock has risen after today’s impressive performance. If he continues to have a solid tournament, it’s certainly possible he returns to the States and the NCAA a more complete and focused defender after playing against the best players his age group has to offer. Both Colorado College and the Minnesota Wild hope that is the case.