Thursday morning, Team Sweden announced it’s 34-man preliminary roster for the 2021 World Junior Championships. Among the 12 defensemen invited is Flyers 2020 second-round pick, Emil Andrae. Before Sweden makes its way to Edmonton for the tournament, they will cut down the roster to 25 players.
Sweden boasts an impressive roster in all areas. The blueline, especially, is loaded with more quality players than there are roster spots. Andrae certainly is in the running for one of those final spots; however, it all depends on who the other selected defensemen are.
Andrae is most known for his flashiness with the puck. He can be a real weapon in the offensive zone and is known to grace a few highlight reels from time to time. For Andrae, it is all about beating the defense 1-on-1. Unfortunately, there are deficiencies in almost every other aspect of his game. His team offense needs work, and his defense can be quite the liability. All this is said because Sweden will need to feel confident in its other five to six defensemen if they are going to bring along Andrae to the World Juniors. Looking at the possible names that might join Sweden, and this should not be an issue. There are plenty of defensively-sound options to pair with Andrae and provide him a bit more free reign. At the same time, Sweden might limit his ice-time if they feel they can only place him in certain situations, which is likely going to be the case.
Currently, Andrae plays in the SHL for HV71. He has two assists in 18 games, and his ice-time ranges anywhere between five and fifteen minutes a game. Keep in mind, numbers for young players in the European professional leagues can be deceiving. It is harder to earn ice-time with older, more experienced peers.
Though Andrae is far from the best defensemen on Sweden’s preliminary roster, there is no denying he provides a spark. Sometimes, having an “ace in the hole” like Andrae can make the difference between winning a losing.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire