International Ice Hockey Federation

Hard work pays for Moverare

Hard work pays for Moverare

Swede looks to be counted on at World Juniors

Published 21.12.2017 12:56 GMT-5 | Author Dhiren Mahiban
Hard work pays for Moverare
Swedish defenceman Jacob Moverare plays the puck while Team USA's Keeghan Howdeshell chases him down during the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. Photo: Minas Panagiotakis / HHOF-IIHF Images
Playing for the Swedish U20 national team at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship is a goal for Jacob Moverare he has been working on.

The Mississauga Steelheads defenceman already has international experience on his resume having played at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship previously. He was also a part of the Swedish squad at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan in August.

“You learn a lot,” Moverare said of his past international experience. “You play against the best players in the world basically so you learn a lot. When the national team picks you, then it’s like all your hard work pays off a little bit.”

Playing for Sweden’s Under-20 team in Buffalo would mean an opportunity to play alongside top prospect Rasmus Dahlin. The 17-year-old defenceman is expected to be the first overall pick at June’s NHL Draft.

“That would be really cool. He’s an unbelievable player,” Moverare said. “I think his skating and hockey sense are just like off the chart. He’s just good at everything basically.”

Through his first 22 games of the season in Mississauga, Moverare has one goal 18 points while being partnered with Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nicolas Hague.

The decision to move his game from Sweden where he played part of the 2015/16 season with HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League to Canada was a request made by the L.A. Kings, who selected Moverare in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

“L.A. kind of wanted it,” Moverare said. “They told me, ‘If we draft you, we’d like you to play in the OHL’ and growing up I’d heard of the OHL and seen a couple of Swedish players come here.

“I talked to (Gustav) Bouramman before (coming) just like how it is. He just said good things. He said it was just like junior NHL basically.”

After a rookie OHL season, which saw the six-foot-two, 198-pound blue liner register 32 points in 63 games, Moverare feels better adjusted to the North American-style of play.

“Obviously I feel more comfortable earlier in the year,” said Moverare. “Everything goes faster and you’ve got to go north-south with the puck because in Europe you can turn around and start again, but the ice is smaller here.”

In addition to the summer tournament, Moverare also spent the summer attending his second training camp with the L.A. Kings – another opportunity for the 19-year-old to learn about the NHL game.

“Just being a pro, I think,” Moverare said of what he learned. “You see all the guys there and how they do things every day. Just looking at the guys makes you see how professional they are and how you have to be to play in that league.”

His time at the Kings camp also gave him a chance to learn from NHL blue liners.

“(Drew) Doughty is really good, but I wouldn’t say we’re really the same type of player. I like to watch Jake Muzzin, I like his game,” said Moverare. “He’s really good defensively, but can also help a bit offensively. He’s a really good two-way defender.”

Moverare, whose last name is of Belgian descent, grew up idolizing Swedish hall of famer Nicklas Lidstrom, but admits it’s hard to replicate his game.

New Jersey Devils rookie sensation Jesper Bratt got to know Moverare during their time together with the junior national team and says the blue liner’s smarts is what sets him apart.

“He’s a pretty big D and he’s very, very skilled,” said Bratt. “He’s always in the right spot, he has great hockey IQ and he’s very good in both zones - so he’s very good defensively and offensively.

“He’s always in the right spot and he’s always hard to play against.”

Bratt, who likely would’ve played at the 2018 World Juniors had he not made the Devils line-up out of training camp, is looking forward to watching a couple of friends participate in Buffalo.

“Lias Andersen is going to be a very important for the whole Swedish team,” he said. “I think Fredrik Karlstrom, one of my best buddies from back home, we’ve known each other since I was 3-years-old - I think he’s going to be a very important player for the Swedish team too. He’s pretty skilled and a strong, big guy. Usually a great player to find the back of the net so hopefully he’s going to do that a lot of times and I’m going to enjoy watching him.”

Sweden enters this year’s tournament riding an impressive 40-game win streak in the round robin portion of the Under-20 event dating back to 31 December 2006. However, in that time the “Junior Crowns” have just one gold medal win and have not medalled since winning silver at the 2014 tournament.

“The Swedish team always has a high expectation,” said Bratt. “They’re always going for the gold medal and they’re going to do the same this year. I think the whole Swedish team and all the staff is ready to take a new step and take the gold medal this year.”

 

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