Get ready for Helge Grans to use the World Junior Championships as a starting point for the new season

Helge Grans was all set to compete towards his native Sweden within the 2022 World Junior Championships final winter. However, similar to the whole lot else over the previous two years, COVID-19 has delayed that chance.

Granz made two appearances for Sweden in December, scoring three highly effective assists in victories over Russia and Slovakia earlier than the match was out of the blue known as off. It was a small pattern dimension, however Grans appeared to slot in with a serious position in blueline, taking part in massive minutes towards offensive prospects from different nations whereas serving to handle the workforce’s sturdy taking part in unit, which took an early success.

Now, together with his first skilled season in North America behind him, which consisted of 56 common season video games and 5 AHL post-season competitions with Ontario Reign, Grans is again with Workforce Sweden and able to compete on the opening of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. Again on Tuesday in Edmonton.

“It was very unhappy that it ended because it did, however I am glad to have the prospect to play once more and it will be very fascinating to take action,” stated Grans of the odd timing. “I’m making ready to the perfect of my capacity. I ski quite a bit and I simply need to maintain engaged on the whole lot.”

The NHL’s 2020 second spherical choice is certainly one of three potential L.A. Kings gamers representing his nation on the present, together with Finnish forwards Samuel Helenius and Kasper Simontaival. Whereas Grans is the one participant to hitch the Kings in Sweden this yr, there have been loads of different gamers prior to now. To call just a few from current years, like Lias Andersson, Tobias Bjornfot, Samuel Fagemo, Carl Grundstrom, Adrian Kempe and Jacob Moverare Tre Kronor at WJC.

Bjornvot just lately joked that he wouldn’t give any recommendation, as his workforce was eradicated within the quarter-finals. Grans defined that whereas he was not in day by day contact with lots of his teammates within the months main as much as the rescheduled occasion, he’s very accustomed to lots of them from earlier tournaments and appears ahead to reuniting them.

“I’ve some good mates there and it should be a lot enjoyable,” stated the 20-year-old. “A few of the guys have been on the workforce for U-16, U-17, U-18, all the best way and a few from my space in Sweden, we have performed collectively since we have been 14 and 15.”

Photograph by Christian Petersen/Getty Photographs

The Grans, from Ljungby, grew up taking part in ahead earlier than shifting to the again finish about 5 years in the past after getting some recommendation from his father and two brothers, who all performed professionally of their house nation. His 6-foot-3, 205-pound body has at all times impressed scouts, and now the younger professional is working to complete his sport.

The current calendar yr has been a whirlwind of recent trials for Grans, who first arrived in Southern California final September for Rookie Camp and 2021 Rookie Faceoff, taking part in two cross video games in Arizona with the workforce’s different prospects. He then participated in an NHL coaching camp for the primary time earlier than being assigned to Ontario to start out the AHL marketing campaign.

Initially, the plan was to ease the younger blueliner right into a sport whereas present process constant work and tutelage with Sean O’Donnell and Matt Greene of Kings Improvement Workers. However that technique was rapidly derailed when high membership Drew Doughty and Shawn Walker misplaced out within the season’s opening month. Grans was pushed into a job each night time with Reign, a lot of an on-the-job coaching for the best.

He continued on this position for the rest of the season, scoring 24 factors on seven targets and 17 assists, together with 5 strengths (1-4-5). Simply two months after the marketing campaign ended, with a yr of expertise underneath his belt, Grans returned to the Toyota Sport Efficiency Middle for his first expertise with Improvement Camp.

“Improvement camp was an excellent week for everybody to come back and be taught quite a bit,” stated Grans. “The coaches have a whole lot of expertise to show us and it was a whole lot of issues we have been doing through the yr. Repeat these issues and maintain engaged on getting higher.”

Along with the event workforce, Grans credit fellow blueliner Cameron Gaunce, who has been on him for a lot of the season, as somebody who has made a big impact on his sport and helped him be taught rapidly.

“We performed many video games collectively and he taught me quite a bit,” stated Grans. “If we do one thing dangerous on the ice he’ll inform me what to deal with and the way we are able to enhance. He was a fantastic instructor final yr and it was very enjoyable to play with him.”

Gaunce returns to Ontario for the 2022-23 season, his third season with Reign, and Grans could be joyful to see him.

“This positively has an affect on the workforce,” Grans stated. “Having a vet like him, he is a superb man on and off the ice. It could be nice to have him.”

With the assistance of his growth coaches and teammates who pushed him to new heights final yr, Grans expects to realize extra confidence subsequent week in Edmonton when he faces opponents of his age. That goes twice when contemplating that he is educated and performed in over 60 NHL-size ice floor video games, on which this yr’s championship shall be held.

“I want to say [playing on] “The little rink may make me a little bit extra skilled,” stated Grans. “I really like little ice. In fact, to start with there are some variations, how do you play with out a disc and with the puck. However I imply, these guys on the workforce in Ontario, they helped me quite a bit after which OD and Greener too. They informed me tips on how to play defensively and that was good. It’s going to be a championship Nice hockey with so many nice gamers. However a little bit rink as a Swede might be factor for me.”

As a novice to North American taking part in model, he felt his sport improved much more on the defensive aspect of the disc after he labored arduous to be taught extra about taking part in the closing position on the AHL degree.

He added, “The defensive half about tips on how to management and tips on how to play extra defensively, I believe that would be the most I’ve discovered and improved my sport model.” “That is what I labored on quite a bit final yr and I’ll proceed to work on it this yr.”

The match shall be a chance for Jeeran to kick off his subsequent season, as he hopes to make an excellent larger affect within the AHL and begin competing for a take a look at the very best degree. Grans and Workforce Sweden each kick off their match on August 10 towards Switzerland, with a pre-show for the match subsequent week.