William Lagesson has turned many heads in the last year. The physical blue liner from Sweden caught the eye of the Fighting Saints last season, and the organization made him its 1st Round section at the 2014 USHL Draft. A month later, Lagesson heard his name called by the Edmonton Oilers in the 4th Round of the NHL Draft. Now, after a seamless transition to junior hockey and the North American game, Lagesson is getting a chance to put on his country's uniform. The Dubuque is a member of Sweden's World Junior Championship team, making the club's roster after competing for a spot in an Evaluation Camp.
"I'm really excited about it," Lagesson told the Telegraph Herald. "It's a great opportunity for me, and it's going to be a great experience. I was a little surprised at first, but the (Team Sweden) coach came over and watched one of our games about two weeks ago, and that's when I kind of knew I had a chance to make the team."
Lagesson has skated in both of Sweden's contests so far, getting key ice time and playing a large role in the penalty kill. He had an assist in the team's 5-1 win over Denmark on December 27. So far, Sweden is 5-0-0 in the tournament and has advanced to the semifinals.
In club history, only 10 players have played at the World Junior Championships. They include Lagesson, Zemgus Girgensons, Milos Bubela, Johnny Gaudreau, Riley Barber and Kevin Reich since the team's return to the USHL in 2010. Representing the original Fighting Saints at the World Junior Champions were Gary Suter, Chris and Peter Ferraro and Landon Wilson.
Reich, a former Saint who is now a member of the Green Bay Gamblers is also playing in the World Junior Championships. He was solid despite a 4-0 loss to Canada on December 27.