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Joel Eriksson-Ek wants to make Wild

Forward prospect struggling at Traverse City in hopes of landing roster spot at training camp

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A decision on whether forward Joel Eriksson-Ek will make the Minnesota Wild will come during training camp, general manager Chuck Fletcher told Monday.

"He's coming to camp with the mindset of trying to make our hockey team," Fletcher said. "He'll join the veterans at training camp on Friday and then it's up to the coaches to see how many games he gets in. The expectation is to give him an honest look and see where he's at and based on that make a determination where he'll play this year."

Eriksson-Ek, selected in the first round (No. 20) of the 2015 NHL Draft, had a fantastic development camp in July but hasn't found his groove in Traverse City. He has no points and a minus-3 rating with five shots on goal in three games playing center on the top line.

His nine goals for Farjestad in the Swedish Hockey League led all players under the age of 20.

Eriksson-Ek (6-2, 198), 19, could either remain with the Wild, play for Iowa of the American Hockey League or be returned to Farjestad in Sweden for a third season.

"He's not a flashy player, but he's just a hard-working, straight line north-south type of player," Fletcher said. "He competes and battles all over the ice, and has a very good shot."

Eriksson-Ek was Sweden's best player during the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Plymouth, Mich., in August, with three points in four games serving as captain. He represented Sweden at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, scoring one goal and two points in six games.

"I like to play a 200-foot game," Eriksson-Ek said. "I play a two-way game and like to put the team first. I'll always do my best and work hard. We'll see after training camp what the plan will be but I'll do whatever they feel is best for my development."

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