Forecasting Sweden's, Finland's rosters for potential 2021 World Cup
Xinhua News Agency / Getty

With news that the NHL is "cautiously optimistic" that current CBA talks might lead to a World Cup in February 2021, we've decided to predict what each team's roster could look like should the tournament take place.

We adopted the NHL's format for the 2016 World Cup. Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the Czech Republic all send teams, while Team North America (players aged 23-and-under from Canada and the U.S.) and Team Europe (players from other European countries) round out the field. Teams are comprised of any combination of 20 skaters and three goalies.

In this edition, we project Team Sweden and Team Finland's rosters:

Sweden

Head coach: Rikard Gronborg

Gronborg has done a tremendous job with the Swedish national program, winning back-to-back gold medals at the World Championship in 2017 and 2018.

Forwards

Dave Sandford / World Cup of Hockey / Getty
LW C RW
Gabriel Landeskog Elias Pettersson Elias Lindholm
Filip Forsberg Nicklas Backstrom Viktor Arvidsson
Andreas Johnsson Mika Zibanejad William Nylander
Rickard Rakell William Karlsson Jakob Silfverberg
Mikael Backlund

Notable omissions: Gustav Nyquist, Jesper Bratt, Patric Hornqvist, Carl Soderberg, Lias Andersson

The Swedes are deep, versatile, and talented up front. Pettersson struggled in the faceoff circle last year, but Lindholm excels in that area and could take some pressure off the Vancouver Canucks phenom. Pettersson is also more than capable of sliding to the wing, allowing Backstrom, Zibanejad, Karlsson, and Backlund to all move up a spot on the depth chart.

The winger pairings of Forsberg-Arvidsson and Nylander-Johnsson give the team built-in chemistry, as each duo features NHL linemates.

Nyquist is coming off a solid season and Bratt has potential, but there weren't too many tough cuts to make at forward.

Defense

Andre Ringuette / World Cup of Hockey / Getty
LD RD
Victor Hedman Erik Karlsson
Oliver Ekman-Larsson John Klingberg
Mattias Ekholm Rasmus Dahlin
Hampus Lindholm

Notable omissions: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Erik Gustafsson, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Erik Brannstrom

The Tre Kronor arguably have the best blue line in the tournament. Dahlin should be a star by then, but we've still given the youngster a safe, reliable partner in Ekholm - one of the NHL's most underrated rearguards.

Hjalmarsson was a tough cut. He's one of the best defensive defensemen in the world, but he's already 32 and has a lot of mileage on his body thanks to some lengthy postseason runs with the Chicago Blackhawks. Gustafsson is coming off a breakout 60-point season, but we've opted to take Lindholm instead to help the penalty kill.

Goalies

Dennis Pajot / World Cup of Hockey / Getty
G
Robin Lehner
Jacob Markstrom
Henrik Lundqvist

Notable omissions: None

Lundqvist will be almost 39 by the time this team takes the ice. He's still the third goalie for morale and leadership purposes, and there are simply not many other options. Lehner's Vezina nomination this past season was no fluke.

Finland

Head coach: Jukka Jalonen

Jalonen's resume is quite impressive. He coached a ragtag group of Finns severely lacking in NHL experience to a gold medal at this year's World Championship. He also won world junior gold in 2016, another World Championship gold in 2011, and a bronze medal at the 2010 Olympics.

Forwards

Minas Panagiotakis / World Cup of Hockey / Getty
LW C RW
Patrik Laine Aleksander Barkov Mikko Rantanen
Teuvo Teravainen Sebastian Aho Kaapo Kakko
Mikael Granlund Jesperi Kotkaniemi Kasperi Kapanen
Artturi Lehkonen Roope Hintz Joonas Donskoi
Eeli Tolvanen

Notable omissions: Erik Haula, Kristian Vesalainen, Jesse Puljujarvi, Rasmus Kupari, Henrik Borgstrom

This is easily the most talented forward group the Finns have ever had. Barkov and Aho give the Leijonat a lethal one-two punch up the middle, while Kotkaniemi and Hintz should make great strides over the next year and a half. Kakko rounds out a highly skilled top six.

There were some tough decisions to make regarding the bottom forwards. Vesalainen, Puljujarvi, Kupari, and Borgstrom all have the talent to push for a roster spot, but Donskoi and Lehkonen are already proven and the latter is an excellent penalty killer. Tolvanen has more upside than any of the bubble players.

Defense

Andre Ringuette / World Cup of Hockey / Getty
LD RD
Miro Heiskanen Rasmus Ristolainen
Esa Lindell Henri Jokiharju
Markus Nutivaara Sami Vatanen
Olli Maatta

Notable omissions: Juuso Valimaki, Olli Juolevi, Sami Niku, Juuso Riikola, Urho Vaakanainen

The blue line is Finland's weakness, but Heiskanen should be one of the league's best defenseman by 2021. Valimaki, Juolevi, or Niku could easily end up stealing a spot from Nutivaara or Maatta, although Valimaki's torn ACL may hinder his development over the next year.

Goalies

Nils Petter Nilsson / World Cup of Hockey / Getty
G
Tuukka Rask
Juuse Saros
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Notable omissions: Pekka Rinne

A passing of the torch? Rinne will be 38 when this tournament rolls around, so we've left him off the team. Saros, Rinne's understudy in Nashville, could be ready to start for Finland by then, but Rask will only be 33 and hasn't shown signs of slowing down.

Luukkonen has yet to play an NHL game, but he's arguably the best goalie prospect in the world and it wouldn't be shocking to see him challenge for the starting gig.

Others in this series:

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Forecasting Sweden's, Finland's rosters for potential 2021 World Cup
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