August 8, 2022

Thomas Münten is looking to get one last chance to win the championship in his sixth attempt as coach for Sweden at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships.

“When we left Red Deer, Alberta, last December 30, I thought it was…I thought we had a good enough team to win it, but we’re not going to get that chance,” Montaigne said. “This is the last dance, the last shot for me.”

WJC 2022 will be held from August 9-20 in Edmonton. The tournament was originally scheduled to take place on December 26-January. 5 but was postponed on December 29 due to concerns about the Corona virus.

While the tournament was postponed, Sweden had two wins in two matches, highest scoring efficiency (17.65 shot percentage) and best goalkeeper save percentage (.961).

Sweden will join the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the preliminary round of Group B. Canada, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Latvia will play in Group A.

Montaigne said he expects Sweden to stay on course for their first title since 2012. They have finished second 11 times, including in 2018 after losing 3-1 to Canada in the final. Missed from August’s roster after playing a major role in December are leading forwards William Eklund (San Jose Sharks), Alexander Holtz (New Jersey Devils), and defenders Matthias Havild (Sharks) and Joel Nystrom (Carolina Hurricane).

“I think the most important part is that we have a leading group, we have good goalkeepers and I still think we are strong in defence,” Montaigne said. “We need to be a fast team. A team that plays fast and simple and we need to create a lot of attacks from behind.”

The 44-year-old is on the Swedish bench at the Junior World Championships for the eighth year in a row. He was an assistant to Rijkaard Grunborg in 2014 and 2015 before taking charge in 2017. He has coached several players in the event that is now shining in the NHL, including Holtz, Elias Peterson (Vancouver Canucks), Lucas Raymond (Detroit Red Wings), and Rasmus Dahlen (Buffalo Saber).

Montaigne discussed WJC and Dahlin and what the future holds for him with

Who will replace strikers Eklund and Holtz and defenders Haveld and Nystrom?

“Anton Olson (Nashville Predators) and Ludwig Jansson (Florida Panthers) are here on defense. Olson has been developing well since December. Jansson has been injured and missed some international events, so I think he would have been picked before the fourth round (in playing 2022 NHL Draft). So Florida hit big there. The best defensive duo can be Simon Edvinsson (Detroit Red Wings) on the left and Helge Grans (Los Angeles Kings) on the right. You can leave them there. If you have a disc or you don’t have a puck. In Forward, Jonathan Licrimacki (Vancouver Canucks) and William O’Gren (Minnesota Wild) are in. Also, forward Fabian Lisel (Boston Bruins) didn’t play us a game in December when he fell ill before the tournament, so he’s another man we expect to contribute to and score points. Our first streak could consist of Daniel Leungman (Dallas Stars) or Theodore Niederbach (Red Wings) at the center, with Oscar Olusson (Colorado. Avalanche) and Lissel (Bruins).”

How much do you like your goalkeepers Jesper Walstead (Minnesota Wild), Kaley Klang (Anaheim Ducks) and Karl Lindbaum (Vegas Golden Knights)?

“I think our goalkeepers are the best we’ve had since I was a coach. Both Walsteads started last year when Klang had some injuries. But [Clang] He’s back on track and not far behind. We have three strong men to whom we can go; They kick the defensive corps out of their positions and talk a lot. They are good at playing disc. Our team knows that if they have a good day, they can close the door to any team we play.”

What is your development philosophy?

“I think, especially with the Swedish national team, that because we have so little time, I always tell myself that if I choose between two players, the most important thing to ask is ‘How am I going to use this player?’ “What kind of role is he in and can he do that?” I usually call the player before the team is announced and explain what role he is going to play. For example, Lekkerimaki scored some goals with Djurgardens while he was on the left side of strong play… If I were to pick him and give him a place Strong, I wouldn’t put him in front, because I feel that if they’re going to be successful, they have to play where they used to play.”

What can Sabers fans expect from defender Rasmus Dahlen in his fifth season in the National Hockey League?

“Rasmus has always been so good. He played in the Junior World Championships four years younger than most and played in the Swedish Hockey League a lot younger than everyone else and then went straight to the National Hockey League. I wouldn’t say that put him back a little bit, but he always had to face Adversity because he was always more rigorously tested at every level. I think that’s what made him so good and the first pick (in the 2018 NHL Draft). I think he’ll be better this year and even better next year. Just my opinion of coaching, but I guess he shouldn’t Focusing a lot on producing points, scoring goals. I felt the same with Victor Hedman Tampa Bay Lightning is coming. Everyone thought, “Okay, he’ll collect 90 points.” Yes maybe. But I think the most important thing is how often he will help your team win. I think Rasmus has that. He has that drive and competitiveness and he wants to win. Being a good team player will take Rasmus and Saber to the next level.”

What do you hope to do after training your last match for Sweden at the WJC in August?

“I have unbelievable memories as a coach for the junior national team, but my next goal is to try to coach somewhere outside of Sweden if possible. I just feel it will be a new adventure, a new challenge. I have done some interviews with some teams in Europe and some teams in North America as well. If an opportunity presents itself in the US or Canada, at any level, it would be a really fun challenge. I’m open to training and exploring, but if I had to choose, I want to train. The national team is a great job, but the only thing you’re missing out on is going to the track. Skating every day, being with the players and playing matches three or four times a week.”

Images: Peter Ekholm, IIHF

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