Hometown: Helsingborg, Sweden
Position: Left Defense
How Acquired: 1st Round Pick in the 2013 CHL Import Draft (60th Overall)
-2013/14: 71 Games Played, 4 Goals, 12 Assists, 16 Points, 95 Penalty Minutes, +42
Playoffs: 21 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 Pts, 16 PIMs
-Cederholm came in as a bit of unknown after being selected with the last first round pick in last year's CHL import draft. We knew that the Hawks thought enough of him in order to release Russian Defenseman Kirill Vorobyev as one of their two protected imports. But besides that, there was not a lot known about the Swede. My first exposure to him was at his first WHL game: a preseason tilt in the 2013 Everett tournament. On his first shift he threw a massive and legal open ice check that got the small crowd present, excited. This type of play, does not really fit too much with the way the Hawks want their Defensemen to play though so this was dialed back as the regular season began. The message had been sent though that Anton was a big physical D-man, who knows how to use that size. Last year, as he took awhile getting used to the system and making sure that he was not out of place. His size was more useful along the boards, where he made life difficult for opposing forwards in his own zone.
-The biggest concern for Hawks fans is whether or not Cederholm actually returns to the Hawks for his 19 year old season. He is eligible to play in the AHL for former Hawk's assistant coach Travis Green with the Utica Comets, as he was drafted by Vancouver prior to becoming property of the Hawks and thus is not protected under the CHL-NHL agreement. This decision is anyone's guess right now, but having just been signed, he was an object of interest for the Canucks at July's Prospect Camp. He is a lock for Vancouver's roster at the Young Star's classic from September 11th-15th in Pentiction as he was there last year. As a signed player, he should also be at training camp for the Canucks from the 19th-22nd. Depending on how he performs at this camp, he may get some playing time in some of their 9 preseason games from Sept. 23rd-October 4th. From there it is up to the Canucks on whether he will come back to Portland or head off to Utica.
Even if he does come back to the Hawks, after missing part of the beginning of the season, he might miss some more time around Christmas to go to the World Junior U-20 Championships in Toronto and Montreal from December 26th-January 5th. He is a finalist for the roster as he played in 4 games this summer for Sweden at the USA jr. Development Camp in Lake Placid, where he faced off against 4 Winterhawks teammates (Chase De Leo, Keegan Iverson, Dominic Turgeon and Brendan Burke). Sweden is only returning 2 of the 7 D-men on last year's roster, so Anton has a good chance of making it onto the the reigning Silver Medalists.
Should he be back in Portland (which I expect), he goes from being a support D-man for guys like Pouliot and Dumba to the Hawk's go-to guy on the back end this season. He will most likely notch the most minutes a game on the team and may also be relied upon as a power play quarterback, depending on what newcomers Blake Heinrich and Nick Heid show offensively. It is believed that he has bigger offensive abilities than he has shown so far in Portland and this year, we will get to see those abilities unleashed a lot more. Should Cederholm take a big step forward this season, the Hawk's defense will be a lot less of a question mark than we thought. Because of the other responsibilities he will have this season, he will probably be asked to fight a lot less.