Thursday, December 23, 2010

WJC Players to Watch: Sondre Olden

Disclaimer: Norway isn't going to score much due to the fact they played so many 19 year old players last year to qualify for this year's main tournament, so bear with this selection. However, in my opinion Norway's success hinges upon two players, first of which being Olden - a 3rd round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2010 NHL draft.

Olden, a 6'4" power forward, hasn't exactly lit up the Swedish junior league as I expected him to this year, but the fact that he earned a 3-game stint with MODO's men's team should attest to his skill. Olden is the third-highest scorer of Norway's returning players, even though he was a '92-born in a tournament filled with '90s. Sondre should log a ton of minutes in all offensive situations for Norway, and at last year's Division 1 U18 tournament he proved that he can be "the man", so don't be surprised to hear Pierre jump all over him.

Perhaps more important than winning games and scoring goals at this tournament is showing promise: there's a city relatively close to Buffalo whose NHL fan base could really use some positive energy after a dismal start to the 2010 NHL season and don't even have a first-round pick to show for it. Getting the chance to play on North American ice in a more physical environment should give scouts a far-more realistic read on a player who climbed up draft rankings last year simply based on potential.

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