William Eklund is a very talented forward who will go very high in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft. One of the biggest reasons why is the shortage of potential top-line centers. Could Eklund become just that?
“I like both positions. I feel comfortable at both,” Eklund proclaimed. “I think my offense is equal at both positions.”
Eklund has terrific two-step quickness, and he was able to show that off this season in the SHL while playing for Djurgardens.
“It’s all about practicing. I try and practice about better competition,” Eklund revealed. “At this level, you have to be quick, or else they will steal the puck from you.”
Eklund’s dad, Christian, had a solid career also playing for Djurgardens. He was a winger who would play some center as well, sound familiar?
“He was more of a grinder. Really good on the forecheck. Really good on the PK and playing big minutes. He had a lot of grit,” Eklund said, “He was competitive and told me to be competitive at whatever I do. That’s the most important thing I picked up from him.”
Christian Eklund is just 14, also playing in the Djurgardens system and he will have the benefit of an older brother who can tell him what it’s like to play in North America among other things.
“He’s good for his age,” said like a true older brother. “We always have small competitions at home. They shoot at the net at the house. I’m beating him right now but he’s coming. He’s getting better and better.”
Every older brother fears that time when the younger brother can start beating him. Does he feel this way? “Yes, absolutely,” he laughed.
This season was successful. He scored 11 goals with 23 points in 40 games and got playoff experience to boot.
“It was a really fun season for me,” said Eklund. “My coaches were trusting me in the beginning and put great players around me. I played top tine to start. That gave me good confidence.”
This talented Swede knows how to play in space. He uses every bit of it to his advantage but playing in the NHL means that space will be diminished.
Eklund has a quick wrist shot, the puck doesn’t stay on his stick for long, and a near flawless one-timer.
“Maybe my wrist shot is my best. I always try and work on it to make it better.”
Eklund has a high hockey I.Q. and a great understanding of what playing in North America is all about.
“I think I’m more into it mentally this year compared to last. You know how it is there now. So, one more year there,” Eklund stated. “It’s a smaller rink. You get closer to the net. You have to be more aware of everybody around you. When you get the puck, you can have someone on you in a second.”
With the upcoming draft, albeit a virtual one, he is looking forward to it.
“It’s always great having those around you that have been with you since day one. It will be fun to have them around me,” Eklund answered.
Eklund is a wild card in this draft. He could get selected higher than expected. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.