Though he wasn’t included on the preliminary roster for Sweden , Isac Lundestrom is heading to the World Juniors. According to Elliott Teaford of the OC Register, the Anaheim Ducks have loaned Lundestrom to Team Sweden for the upcoming tournament, which beings on December 26th. Lundestrom had been playing in the AHL after suiting up 15 times with the Ducks earlier this year.
Lundestrom’s addition is a huge step towards the gold medal for Sweden, who already had a rock solid defense corps but were inexperienced up front. The 19-year old Ducks prospect will bring some NHL experience along with a long history of international competition. He was part of the Swedish team that barely lost to Canada in the gold medal game a year ago, and previously had won a U17 bronze medal and U18 silver medal in the same year. Lundestrom will be leaned on heavily to drive the play in the offensive zone for his country, just as he was at times this season in Anaheim and San Diego.
Selected 23rd overall in 2018 he surprised many by making the Ducks out of camp as an 18-year old, and was even given the chance to play at center during certain games. That’s high praise for a player who many believed needed several years of seasoning, but perhaps shouldn’t have been shocking given his experience. Lundestrom had already completed two full seasons in the SHL before being drafted, and even got a taste of the men’s professional league during the 2015-16 season. While his absolute ceiling is still a ways off, his polish so far has been spectacular for a player of his age. The World Juniors will be just another chapter in his development, and one which the Ducks hope will take him to another level offensively.