The World Junior Championship is finished and everyone – we hope – is back from Ufa by now. The NHL’s back too, which means some rookies may have to impress in a hurry if they want to make their debuts in 2013. On top of that, the Canadian League’s trade deadlines are here, so there’s a lot to cover this week as we look at some of the players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
Elias Lindholm, C – Brynas (Swe.)
The Swedes went young at the world juniors (necessity played a part) and earned a surprising silver medal. With the tourney coming home to Malmo next year, don’t be shocked if Lindholm helps lead the Tre Kronor one spot higher on the podium. A two-way threat who showcased his savvy play at both ends of the rink in Ufa, Lindholm has been excellent playing against men back home this season, notching six goals and 21 points in 32 games, best among junior-aged players.

“You must be strong on the puck in the elite league,” he said. “All the 'D,' all the players are strong so you need to protect the puck a lot and that has helped me a lot.”

Also helping is linemate Calle Jarnkrok, the Detroit prospect who also happens to be Lindholm’s cousin. Their chemistry, which dates back to childhood, has been key for Brynas and helped Lindholm get more exposure with the team.

“(At) Christmas we'd celebrate together and we played a lot of hockey outside,” Lindholm said. “So we know each other on the ice.”

Now it’s the younger cousin’s turn to intrigue at the draft and thanks to his skills, he’s shaping up to be a top-five pick and the first Swede to go this year. His game philosophy won’t hurt his chances, either.