Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has submitted his annual rankings of the top 30 draft-eligible prospects. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on June 26-27.
|(Photo Credit: Farjestad BK) |#21 - JOEL ERIKSSON EK
Center, Farjestad (Sweden)
6’1.75”, 183 lbs.
A highly intelligent, two-way performer from the Farjestad BK program, Eriksson Ek split his draft season between the SuperElit junior level and Sweden’s top league.
He notched a dominating 26 goals in 31 regular-season and playoff games at the J20, and acclimated well to the speed of the SHL with six points (4+2) in 34 contests to outperform all other U18 skaters in the 12-team league.
With NHL size and very strong skating game, Eriksson Ek makes his mark with a complete wall-to-wall style.
He’s very proficient on faceoffs, embraces the dirty work at both ends of the rink and pays special attention to detail when he doesn’t have the puck, giving him the long-term projection of a multi-tool second line candidate who can adapt to any situation and do what it takes to win.
Through hard work comes offensive success and Eriksson Ek has shown at every level the tendencies of an opportunistic scorer – even when his team is shorthanded. He doesn’t have one standout skill, but he is a heady centerman who knows what to do when the puck comes his way.
He skates hard with good puck control, exhibits mature patience when looking to distribute and displays a quick release and accuracy with his wrist shot. He isn’t extremely flashy, but the Swede possesses deceptive 1-on-1 skills that allow him to generate offensive chances.
Eriksson Ek remained productive in his final pre-draft audition, capping his season with five goals, one assist and 19 shots on goal in five games for Sweden at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects) for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.