The run of intriguing Swedish prospects that played in the SuperElit and SHL this season continues with Skelleftea winger, Albin Eriksson.
The Bollnas native is a well rounded forward that produced good numbers in the Swedish junior leagues and got a healthy chunk of games with the big club.
Eriksson packs the size, speed, and two-way game to be a potential sleeper in this draft as a player that will exceed expectations when given a larger opportunity and playing with offensive players.
We’ll take a look at Eriksson as he falls into the 59th spot in our 2018 NHL Draft Rankings.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.16/ July 20, 2000
- Birthplace: Bollnas, SWE
- Frame:6-foot-4/ 205 lbs
- Position: Left Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Skelleftea AIK(SHL)
- Hlinka Memorial Bronze Medal
- J20 SuperElit (North) Most Penalized Player (76)
- SHL SM-silver Medal
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Some very good numbers at the SuperElit level with consistent production throughout the entire year. Eriksson ended the season with a GF% in the mid 60’s and was a dynamic duo with top prospect of the draft Jonatan Berggren. Eriksson represented Sweden at Ivan Hlinka and although he didn’t score a goal, he was noticeable for his ability to get in on the forecheck and use his size.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Berggren was a step above Eriksson, but encouraging production rates, consistency and GF% for the young Swedish prospect. Eriksson made each one of his teammates better when paired with them.
As we’ve seen with quite a few of these players that are really offensive in the junior leagues and then a limited role in the SHL, there is a good success rate.
Eriksson jumps ahead of the group due to his size and registering that lone assist in the SHL.
Eriksson and Berggren were dynamite together throughout the entire year and ended up being 1-2 in scoring for the J20 team. Eriksson is/was the more gritty of the two, willing to grind it out along the boards to make plays. Berggren was generally the playmaker to Eriksson’s shooting:
The right-handed winger plays more of a bull role, taking the puck to the net or pushing his way through his opponents. Using his size to dictate where he wants to go and allowing his opponents to drape themselves over him as he continues to drive the net. He has soft hands for his size with great ability to make passes and can load up a wrist shot pretty well. Eriksson is quick with his puck handling and uses his long reach to create space between himself and his opponent, and is then able to drive the net with a shoulder down or along the boards.
The Bollnas native is a strong skater that is effective on his edges, has really good balance and weight on his feet. He has to hard to knock off the puck and is good at getting a couple of long strides to get speed.
Eriksson is willing to be that grinder along the boards, as we saw at the Ivan Hlinka, where he makes it hard for opposing defenders in their own zone. Willing to make a hit, hound a puck carrier, or just get in on the fore-check with hopes of a turnover, Eriksson will be ready and willing to do so. His versatility and willingness to use his size makes him attractive. He doesn’t seem like a player that will just get placed in a role for his career, and has the skillset to move up and down the lineup and take on whatever needed to be done. Combine that with the favourable offensive numbers shown at the SuperElit level and there is a lot to like about the 6’4″ Eriksson.
The young winger will need to work on his creativity in puck distribution to be an effective offensive player. He has the size to make things happen but would be best served to not constantly rely on that instead of forcing opponents to check him with the puck and then move it to a linemate.
Eriksson appeared in 17 games for Skelleftea but was limited to an average of 5:02 of ice time and saw games where he dressed but didn’t even hit the ice. That diminished ice time isn’t uncommon for 17-year-old players in the SHL and makes his one assist seem better. As we’ve seen in the past though, just getting on the scoresheet as a draft-eligible player is always a good sign.
I’ve been high in Eriksson as second and third round pick for most of the season, he stood out to me at the Ivan Hlinka as a player that has a well-rounded game that will translate very well to the North American rink. He needs to fine-tune some aspects to his game but should get that chance with Skelleftea in the SHL next year. Ideally, Eriksson and Berggren take their show to the top league next season with Eriksson rounding out those little flaws to his game and become a legitimate NHL prospect quickly.
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With Eriksson, the positives far outweigh the negatives. He has shown that he can produce, be a physical presence, and that he has a heavy shot, which is of a different calibre to many players in his age group.
Add to this elite shot his great hands and the fact that he isn’t afraid to try his dangles, plus his relentless forecheck and his good skating ability, and it’s easy to imagine more than a few NHL general managers wanting take a chance on the big winger, especially considering that he already has pro experience.