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WJC Preview: Goalies will be key to upsets for Denmark

The Danes can lean on an experienced roster and depth, but if they're going to end up in the knockout round, they'll need to get top-tier goaltending.

The Danes will be seen as one of the weaker teams in their pool, but they do have one thing going for them: experience. Eleven players from last year’s squad are eligible to return, including a couple NHL prospects.

The key to the offense will be Jonas Rondbjerg (Vegas), who led the team in scoring in Buffalo a year ago and will be even more important this time around. Rondbjerg has been playing against men all season with the Vaxjo Lakers in Sweden’s top pro league. Undrafted forwards such as Phillip Schultz and Andreas Grundtvig are also veterans of last year’s entry and have had decent success in other international appearances.

The big man on the blueline is Malte Setkov (Detroit), and he has also chipped in some offense while wearing a Danish jersey. Setkov has a 6-foot-6 frame that he has been growing into since the Red Wings drafted him 100th overall in 2017. Undrafted Lasse Holm Mortensen also brings size and experience to the blueline.

In the crease, the Danes have options. Albert Adamsen and William Rorth have both suited up for Denmark internationally and have been playing against men in the country’s top league this season, but there’s another choice in the WHL with 2019 draft prospect Mads Sogaard. Towering at 6-foot-7, Sogaard has played for Denmark often in his junior career and is now tending net with the Medicine Hat Tigers, where he’s putting up some of the best numbers in the league on a team that is middle-of-the-pack offensively. With his calm demeanour and massive frame capable of taking away the bottom of the net, Sogaard is the kind of netminder who can steal a game. And given the fact that Denmark is in a rather top-heavy pool, one surprise victory could vault them into the medal round, with someone else facing the dreaded relegation series.

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