Dec 302010
 

[Jon Häggqvist is a writer for the Swedish newspaper, Allehanda, in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. With the lack of Canucks prospects in this year's World Junior Hockey Championships, Häggqvist kindly contributed this post to CHB to update us on 2009 2nd round draft pick, Anton Rodin.]

Anton Rodin, Vancouver Canucks

Anton Rödin was born in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, and spent his first hockey years playing for a club called Hammarby. When he was ten years old his family moved north to Gävle and since then Anton has represented Gävle’s pride: Brynäs. His parents moved to a house very close to the home of Jakob Silfverberg, an Ottawa Senators prospect, and who, just like Rödin, was born in 1990.

It sure was a lot of prestigous games on that street back in the day, and Rödin and Silfverberg has excelled side by side through the years.

Yesterday I spoke to colleague Daniel Sandström, who is a sports writer at Gävle Nyhetsbyrå. Since I live in Örnsköldsvik – Näslund’s town! – my main focus is on Modo Hockey, and I figured I could use some real expertise when I was putting this post together. Sandström follows Brynäs almost every night and I asked him about Rödin.

“Anton is not a very forward guy off ice”, Sandström said. “But I have been noticing that he is taking more place in the locker room this season. Just like he is doing on the ice”.

You should have in mind that Anton, who recently turned 20, is only playing his second season in SEL, the top league in Sweden. Some prospects become superstars overnight, but for most of them it takes time to adapt to senior hockey – both on and off the ice. Anton is taking it step by step and is on the road to becoming a really good player.

Last season he didn’t get much ice time (only eight minutes per game, often in the fourth line) and was somewhat struggling to take the first important step into the big league. Now he has taken that step – and this year the coaches are putting more trust in their young star. Nowadays, Anton partners with veteran Andreas Dackell, who was once a player for Ottawa and Montreal, and that has been good for his development.

“It has actually been positive for both Anton and Andreas”, Daniel Sandström said, pointing out the fact that older players sometimes seem to age backwards when playing side by side with youth. In November, SEL took a break while the Swedish national team was playing in the Karjala Tourament with Finland, Russia and Czech Republic. Rödin didn’t make it to Team Sweden, but I guess he capitalized on the game recess in every way because he has been playing great since then, working his ass off out on the ice and putting up points for himself and for his team.

Brynäs has won a lot of games lately and Anton has really been a part of that.

“But one thing you can remark on is that Anton hasn’t scored that many goals. And he has missed tons of chances”, Sandström said.

So there’s one thing he has to work on before he moves to Canada – his accuracy.

That and his physical game. Anton is not afraid of getting into heat – he jumps in head first if he has to – but he sure could use another pound or two.

In 31 games this season Anton has three goals and 14 assists. 17 points is actually more than okay in the SEL, but as a junior Anton was among Sweden’s best in scoring and as you probably have seen in the WJC he has a bunch of offensive skills. In the SEL, that side hasn’t really come out yet. You get a glimpse of it here and there, but it feels like there is a lot of potential there that is waiting to be realized.

I’m sure it will. Maybe not this season, but definitely in a year or two. And I’m sure he will be an important part of the future Canucks.

%d bloggers like this: