If you are a Red Wings fan hoping Swedish draft prospect William Eklund might slide to Detroit at No. 6, then your longshot hopes are growing longer.
NHL.com sportswriter Mike Morreale reports Eklund has interviewed with teams owning four of the top five picks. Plus, the Buffalo Sabres, holding the No. 1 pick, will meet with him Wednesday. That’s an indication Eklund will land in the top five.
TSN’s Craig Button compares Eklund to Sebastian Aho. But Eklund has also been compared to Henrik Zetterberg. That comparison hooked Detroit fans.
Eklund best prospect in Europe
Eklund is the No. 1 European candidate for the upcoming draft. He was named the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence winner as the draft prospect who exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.
A left wing on Djurgarden, Eklund overcame a Covid-19 diagnosis and an emergency appendectomy to become the league’s rookie of the year. He posted 11 goals and 23 points in 40 games. Eklund is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds.
He is a logical pick for New Jersey at No. 3, because the Devils also drafted Alexander Holtz last season. Holtz was Eklund’s linemate in Sweden. Buffalo won’t likely bypass 6-foot-5 defenseman Owen Power to take Eklund at No. 1. But Seattle could take him at No. 2.
The Red Wings can take goalie Jesper Wallstedt, defenseman Brandt Clarke or center Mason McTavish at the No. 6 pick. The Red Wings don’t have a premium goaltending prospect. Wallstedt is on par with Spencer Knight or Yaroslav Askarov. The Red Wings have only selected a goalie in the first round twice. And neither Tom McCollum (2008) or Terry Richardson (1973) ended up being a top NHL netminder.
Eklund has interviewed with 20 NHL teams, including SEA, ANA, NJD & CBJ. He's scheduled to interview with the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the No. 1 selection, on Wednesday. https://t.co/repPeaJ09y
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) July 5, 2021