NY Islanders' recent top draft pick, Calle Odelius, will be a member of team Sweden in the 2023 World Junior Championship held in Moncton and Halifax.
The Isles selected Odelius in the second round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, where he landed in the lap of Lou Lamoriello. Odelius was available at the 65th pick when many projected him to go in the first or early second round.
The Nykvarn, Sweden, native will be one of eight defensemen on the Swedish roster, three of which have also been drafted. Even though he is only 18 years old, Odelius is one of the most experienced defensemen on the Swedish team and should expect to play a significant role on the team's blue line. We could see Odelius paired up with one of the top defensemen in the 2023 draft, Axel Sandin Pellikka.
Odelius has found success at the international junior level as a member of the 2022 U-18 World Junior Championships in Germany, where Sweden claimed the gold medal. Odelius appeared in all six games for Sweden, tallying three assists - including one in the upset of Team USA in the gold medal game.
In that gold medal game, up against a USA roster full of top draft picks like Logan Cooley, Cutter Gauthier, and Frank Nazar, the Swedes were outplayed and outshot 51-15. Sweden somehow managed to make the most of their opportunities taking down the stars and stripes 6-4
Sweden comes into the tournament as the second-ranked team in Group A, with Canada taking the top spot, followed by Czechia, Germany, and Austria. The Swedes open play on Boxing Day as they take on Austria and Detroit Red Wings' highly-ranked prospect, Marco Kasper.
Playing in the HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden, Odelius currently has four assists in 24 games for Djurgardens. Playing against his age level, we should expect more production from Odeluis this tournament than his season thus far suggests.