As we all know, the more Swedes the better, and no skater fits this mantra better than Joel Eriksson EK. Eriksson currently plays for Farjestad BK in the SHL, after forcing his way into the lineup at eighteen years old. Quite the feat for one of the top professional leagues in the world, and it speaks to the physical maturity of Eriksson's game.
And while the Canadiens do currently have a glut of prospects at center it is hard to pass on a player with the sort of talent Eriksson possesses.
Birthplace: Karlstad, Sweden
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 183lbs
Perhaps what is most noteworthy about Eriksson's game is his willingness to go to the tough areas of the ice, and then create offense from them. He drives to the front of the net and makes himself available for deflections and generally creates havoc around the goalie. If there isn't a play seemingly there when he's carrying the puck Eriksson more often than not chooses to drive towards the net to create chances. His defensive game is also of note as he uses his long reach to negate zone entries at the blueline and can play both sides of special teams.
He goes to battle in all three zones and even against men never showed signs of backing off from physical confrontations. The tough areas of the ice seem his favourite destinations. He likes to position in front of the net to look for deflections or make himself available in the slot. When he has the puck in the offensive zone if he can't shoot he tried to take the puck to the net. At his blueline he effectively uses his reach to negate zone entries into his zone.
A big, rangy, all purpose player used on special teams, critical situations and key face-offs. A hard working team player with a high hockey IQ- plays with remarkable maturity for his age,always come and in control- not overly skilled with the puck but handles it soft and smoothly,never rushing a decision of panicking. A dangerous net-front operator with great hand/eye coordination, generates impressive velocity on his wrist shot with an economical and sharp release.
Eriksson is yet another strong 200-foot player out of the Swedish system. He skates extremely well and has a competitive streak that keeps him always hunting to make an impact. Very skilled offensively and like to drive the play to the net. Not fearful to play the grinding, heavy game in high traffic to stir it up. Drives the net for rebounds and second chances. There is no quit in his game as he battles until the very end.
Future Considerations: 23rd
Hockey Prospect: 15th
Craig Button: 13th
Bob McKenzei: 23rd
Central Scouting(European Skaters): 4th
It's very clear that scouts are raving over the young Swedes ability to compete at the pro level. His ability to drive play in the dirty areas of the ice is something every coach loves to see from his skaters.
However, the chances of Eriksson falling down to the Habs at 26th overall seems incredibly slim. He's a highly touted two way center and while you don't turn down a player of his caliber there are larger, more pressing needs for the Canadiens elsewhere. That being said if Eriksson is there I'd be more than happy to see Timmins call his name in Sunrise this Friday.