Niklas Kronwall is no longer going to be available for the World Cup, and so Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm will take his place.
Kronwall was originally named to the roster when the team’s had to name their original 16 man roster. Kronwall is out because of his knee injury, which limited him to 64 games this season.
The injury gods have been doing some teams a favour for this World Cup. First Ryan Callahan on team USA (although they still screwed up on not picking Phil Kessel), and now Niklas Kronwall, who while wasn’t a terrible choice, the fact that he was picked over Hampus Lindholm or John Klingberg was insanity.
Since Lindholm joined the league in 2013-14, Kronwall has more points than Lindholm, and even in more game, but Kronwall is a lot more reliant on the power play than Lindholm. Lindholm’s defensive game is also a lot stronger than Kronwall’s, especially given Kronwall’s old age. Lindholm is considered by many to be one of the best defensemen in the game, while Kronwall is at best a top 4 defenseman. I understand that Sweden wants some experience on the blue line, the more help on their incredibly strong blue line, especially with arguably the best goalie in the league behind them, and solid scoring depth up front.
While adding Kronwall to the roster was a mistake, his knee helped Sweden improve an already stacked blue line with the addition of Lindholm, and suddenly Sweden looks like they could be the team to beat in the World Cup. And maybe it’s what’s best for Kronwall. If he rests his knee, or even has surgery for it, mybe he’ll come back with a bit more movement. It wouldn’t vastly improve his play, but he’s going to need to be better if the Wings want any chance of making the playoffs with their blue line.