Born: January 29, 1997 Age: 18 Hometown: Karlstad, Sweden Height: 6’2’’ Weight: 180 Position: C Team: Farjestad (Sweden) CSS Rank: 4th among International Skaters
Farjestad centre Joel Eriksson Ek is NHL Central Scouting’s fourth-ranked International skater. He split his 2014-15 season between the Swedish Hockey League and Farjestad’s junior team. After a successful season, Eriksson Ek is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Eriksson Ek recorded 32 points, including an impressive 21 goals, in 25 games for Farjestad’s junior team. In the SHL, he scored four goals and added two assists in 34 games. He also showed well in International play, leading Sweden in goals, with five, at the Under-18 World Championship. He also had three goals and an assist in five games at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
“A very competitive centre who uses his size and skill, and skating to power to the net and create scoring chances,” said Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects. “Possesses an elite-level shot, great vision, and slick puck; handling skills; as a result, it’s no surprise that he has a natural knack for scoring big goals. Offensive catalyst, but also defensively responsible. Plays a creative, 200-foot game. All-in-all, an intelligent, scoring centre that is productive at both ends of the ice.”
The 18-year-old idolized fellow Swede Peter Forsberg growing up.
“He was a hard-working player who did everything for the team and also had good skills,” said Eriksson Ek.
While Eriksson Ek idolized Forsberg, he also had someone at home to look up to. His father, Clas Eriksson, was a forward who played 13 seasons for Farjestads BK Karlstad in the SEL from 1990 to 2004. Clas is also an assistant coach in Farjestad.
Where Eriksson Ek has a leg up on his competition heading into the NHL Draft is his firm grasp of the defensive side of the puck. He projects as a solid top-six two-way centreman at the next level.
“He is a very competitive, powerful centre with great speed, a good strong shot and excellent puck-handling. He is creative on offence while reliable on defence. Likes to go to the net to create scoring chances,” said NHL Central Scouting’s Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb.
Eriksson Ek has been compared to Derick Brassard of the New York Rangers. Brassard was taken sixth overall in 2006. While Eriksson Ek is projected to go lower than that, he is a great option for teams in the middle to late first round.
Competitive, defensively responsible and a knack for scoring big goals, Erkisson Ek looks to be an impact player in the NHL some day.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
A scout, per The Hockey News: “Good hands, good offensive instincts and a good touch around the net and a pretty good skater.”
A scout, per Future Considerations: “He likes to use his strength and length to protect the puck from defenders. He was good along the wall in the gritty areas, as well as trying to hit opponents with checks and not just separate them from the puck. In the defensive zone, he was able to cover for his defenceman when needed, and liked to play gritty along the walls. Great versatility, great character and all-out effort throughout the game. A player you win with.”
TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button: “He is a well-balanced centre who can play in any situation. He’s an intelligent player who reads the play quickly, taking advantage both offensively and defensively. Good skills and is comfortable playing in any style of game and has a strong competitive approach. Maturity will be longer but the potential is high.”