Monday, January 5, 2009

Prospect watch in the WJC: Karlsson looking good

Sweden's Erik Karlsson, 2008 first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators
Although he had to live with the silver medal, Sens prospect Erik Karlsson received plenty of individual accolades as the tournament came to a close. Karlsson was named the tournament's best defenceman by the Directorate, was named among his team's top three players by the Swedish coaches, and was names Sweden's best player in the gold-medal game. He led Sweden in scoring with nine points (2G, 7A), tied for first place in scoring among defencemen with Canada's P.K. Subban. A pretty good showing for a pick who was criticized by some, and he had a pretty impressive moustache going, too. (No word on whether or not the moustache was in solidarity with his struggling future Senators teammates.)

Andre Petersson didn't have as many accolades, but he had a pretty good tournament, too. Tied for fourth in Swedish team scoring with six points (3G, 3A), and he was given the team's best player award in their round-robin victory over Russia.

For the USA, James O'Brien wasn't dominant on any night, but he had reliable production. He finished with four points (1G, 3A) in six games, and was +4 overall. Considering his age, and his first-round draft status, though, I think it's safe to say more was expected of O'Brien.

And I'd say it's also safe to say that John Tavares won the battle for first overall against Victor Hedman, at least for now. Hedman will certainly be a valuable member of an NHL team in the future, but Tavares was by far the better player in this tournament.
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