BORN: Oct. 12, 2002, Haninge, Swe.
2020-21: Djurgarden POS: LW
HT: 5-10 WT: 172 SHOOTS: L
INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICES: No. 10
Whichever NHL team takes Eklund in the draft will have a happy coach on its hands. There’s a good chance that nobody among this year’s crop will be ready to step into the NHL next season, but Eklund is close.
That’s because he skated this season for Djurgarden – and he played crucial minutes. It’s well known that young players don’t even get on the ice in Sweden unless they’re capable on both sides of the puck. “When was the last time you saw a draft-eligible player in Sweden used in the last five minutes of a game, both when they’re up a goal and down by a goal?” said one scout. “Coaches are going to trust him quickly.”
There are some concerns about Eklund’s stature, but not enough to scare teams away. “The more you watch him, the less concerned you are about his size,” said another scout. Like his overall game, Eklund’s offense is well-balanced in that he can score and make plays with equal efficiency. He’s also a player who can move up and down the lineup. He’s agile and jumps into plays offensively, while having the hockey sense and speed to get back into the play defensively.
BEST CASE | Sebastian Aho