Team Sweden had to make a change to its roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Friday when it announced that Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell will be added to the team in place of St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen.
Steen will not be able to compete in the tournament as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery that he had in June. He is coming off of a 17-goal, 35-assist season for the Blues in 2015-16. He also appeared in 20 playoff games for the Blues, adding four goals and six assists as they reached the Western Conference Finals. He could be a candidate to take over as team captain this season after David Backes left in free agency.
“Of course it is a blow to our team that Alex can’t participate in the World Cup of Hockey, because he possesses a unique set of skills on our team,” Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg said on Friday, via NHL.com.
“However, Rickard Rakell will be a very strong offensive power on our team. What he accomplished last season in Anaheim is just a sample of what kind player Rickard will be in the near future.”
Based on their production this past season, Sweden really isn’t losing much production or offense with this swap because Rakell, the Ducks’ first-round pick in 2011 and still only 23 years old, is coming off of a breakout season in 2015-16.
In 72 games he set career highs across the board with 20 goals, 23 assists, 43 points and 169 shots on goal.
The World Cup takes places in Toronto starting on September 17 and runs through October 1.