LA Kings: Helge Grans was final cut for Team Sweden’s WJC roster

LA Kings (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /

Tobias Bjornfot will be the lone representative of the LA Kings after Helge Grans was the final cut for Team Sweden’s WJC roster.

The LA Kings are about to have a surplus of prospects on display in the upcoming World Junior Championships. Those already finalized include Quinton Byfield and Jordan Spence for Team Canada and Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kaliyev, and Brock Faber for Team USA.

LA’s NHL roster will have plenty of Swedish ties when the 2021 season commences, including Adrian Kempe, Lias Andersson, Carl Grundstrom, and Tobias Bjornfot. Team Sweden trimmed their WJC roster down to 25 players on Sunday, with Bjornfot making the cut and potentially being named a captain.

Helge Grans was not as fortunate, as the LA Kings’ 35th overall pick in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft was the final cut for Team Sweden. The move is not unexpected as Grans was one of the youngest defenders competing for a spot on Sweden’s roster. In fact, fellow 2020 draft pick Emil Andrae is the only 18-year-old on Sweden’s blue line, and he’ll turn 19 approximately a month after the WJC concludes.

Grans has taken his game to another level in the 2020-2021 campaign for Malmo. After scoring just one goal with two assists in 21 games last season, the Ljungby native has two goals with five assists through 16 games in SHL play.

After playing in only three games with the LA Kings last year, Tobias Bjornfot is expected to have a much larger role in the upcoming season. With the Ontario Reign, Bjornfot took a step forward in his development, tallying six goals with 13 assists in 44 games. He was quiet for Team Sweden in last year’s WJC, failing to record a point in seven games.

light. Related Story. Byfield and Spence make Canada’s WJC roster

Bjornfot was paired with Edmonton Oilers’ prospect Philip Broberg, and the duo formed one of the best shutdown tandems for Team Sweden, facing the oppositions’ top lines.

"“He (Bjornfot) was good,” The Athletic‘s Scott Wheeler said. (He) Showed more offensive speed and instinct than I expected he would too, even if it didn’t show up on the scoresheet. He gaps well and he’s smart, so the role was a natural fit.”"

The World Juniors could be the perfect tuneup for Bjornfot before he transitions into a full-time role with the Kings in the shortened 2021 season.

LA will match last year’s number with nine prospects at the WJC with Kasper Simontaival (Finland), Martin Chromiak (Slovakia), and Lukas Parik (Czech Republic) rounding out the total.