This isn’t how Sweden drew it up, but Patrik Berglund is now the team’s top center. Henrik Zetterberg has been forced out of the tournament with a back injury, and Henrik Sedin wasn’t able to make it to Sochi in the first place so Sweden’s center depth has been devastated by injuries.
Just how shallow are they up the middle now? Berglund is slated to be the No. 1 center, skating alongside Gabriel Landeskog and St. Louis Blues teammate Alexander Steen. While it could be assumed that the two Blues players have a built-in chemistry, Berglund hasn’t spent a lick of time skating with Steen during five-on-five play in St. Louis.
Through the last 10 games for the Blues, Berglund has spent 1.36% of his even strength time alongside Steen according to Dobber Hockey’s Frozen Pool. They might as well be strangers out on the ice.
The former first-round selection has struggled for St. Louis this year, but he scored a goal in his first game for Sweden so perhaps they won’t be so bad off after all. He’s a responsible two-way center that can provide so strong play in all three zones for the Swedes, which is the sort of presence they’ll be looking for with Zetterberg on his way back to Detroit.
Sweden has Gold medal aspirations, and Berglund will need to elevate his game to a new height to push the team forward as the No. 1 center.
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