Burakovsky carries the puck during a game against USA at the U18 World Championships last spring. (Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos have been selected to the list of 26 players named to Sweden’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors, which will be held in Malmo, Sweden.
Djoos, 19, won silver with Team Sweden last year in Ufa, Russia, while Burakovsky was left off the roster.
Djoos is an offensive defenseman with good passing and a high hockey IQ. His size and defensive abilities are question marks as he looks to move to the next level (the Caps have until next June 1st to sign him). He has struggled offensively this year with Brynas in the SHL after an impressive second half of last year.
Burakovsky is on a roll as of late. On a stacked Erie Otters team, he has 39 points in 27 games so far. This will be a special tournament for Burakovsky, who was raised in Malmo and played there for the local Redhawks before coming over to North America to sign with Erie, where he plays with his fellow countryman goaltender Oskar Dansk.
“It’s fun, especially when it’s played on home ice in front of friends and everything,” Andre’s father, Robert Burakovsky, told Skanska Dagbladet. ”Plus we get to have him at home. We have missed him extremely much, even if the whole family has visited him for 10 days. We have been at home for one and a half weeks.”
Burakovsky Sr. also shed light on what the Capitals organization think of his son: “He has been in Washington earlier on for three weeks training. Even there he did well. We have spoken with them and they are really pleased with André so far,” he said.
Also, Andre’s father mentioned the drama surrounding his son’s team choice this summer. Reportedly, Burakovsky and his camp had come to an agreement with the Windsor Spitfires but the Otters snagged him at the export draft before the Spits could select him.
“It has actually been great,” he said of his son’s season in Erie. “Better than expected. He has adapted quickly. He was skeptical when he left for Erie. They only won 18 of 72 games last season. This season they’re leading everything. It’s great.”
Wildcards for the Swedes this year are two players who may get released from their NHL teams to participate: Hurricanes’ top prospect Elias Lindholm and former Caps prospect Filip Forsberg, who is currently on the Nashville Predators’ injured reserve list.
Forsberg is definitely willing to play for his country at home World Juniors. But that may not be enough. ”It’s not really up to me to decide, Nashville has the last word”, he told Hockey Sverige I have not heard anything more than that.”
Translations by Jake Ware. Thanks to reader Melissa C. for sending us the interview with Burakovsky’s father.