Sweden was eliminated by Finland in the quarterfinals, meaning New York Islanders prospect Simon Holmstrom’s tournament is over. Here’s his grade.
The New York Islanders only had two players at this year’s World Junior Champions in Edmonton. Matias Rajaniemi, representing Finland, and Simon Holmstrom representing Sweden. Both nordic sides met in the quarterfinals with Finland going through thanks to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
That means Holmstrom, the Islanders 2019 first-round pick (23rd overall) will head home after five games. I’ve been able to sit at watch almost his entire WJC and here’s how I’d grade his tournament.
Put up Points
With five points through five games, Holmstrom was one of Sweden’s top producers at the tournament. Holmstrom, along with linemate Noel Gunler (Carolina), Lucas Raymond (Detroit), and Victor Soderstrom (Arizona) all share the lead with five points.
Through his five games, Holmstrom was an important creator for the Swedes. The Islanders’ prospects was routinely out there opening up space and setting up his linemates for goals.
Like this setup for Noel Gunler against Austria.
Holmstrom displayed his playmaking abilities throughout the tournament for Sweden. He’s clearly a smart player that can open up defenses and give his linemates the space they need to put the puck in the net.
This is great, but if there’s one area that Holmstrom clearly needs to improve it’s getting the puck on net himself.
The Isles prospect finished with three shots on goal the entire tournament. I know he isn’t a shoot-first type of player and it wouldn’t be fair to compare him to a guy like Lucas Raymond or Noel Gunler (they finished with 25 and 16 SOG for the tournament, respectively). But finishing with three shots on goal through five games shows how Holmstrom just isn’t a threat to score a goal.
All three shots came in Sweden’s 7-1 win over the Czech Republic. Sweden’s first game of the tournament. Meaning Holmstrom went four games without getting a shot on net.
That one-dimensional play did him no favors in the tournament and certainly didn’t help Sweden advance past Finland in the quarterfinals.