2014 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #15 - Nikolaj Ehlers
Next up is the electrifying Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads. Pure. Offensive. Talent.
Current Team: Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
Date of Birth: February 14, 1996
Place of Birth: Aalborg, Denmark
Weight: 163 lbs
I don't care if you call me a homer- Ehlers is the most electrifying player in this draft.
His hands are unbelievable, his shot is hard and accurate, and he is the kind of player that brings you out of your seat almost every shift. Mooseheads fans like myself thought we'd seen it all with Jonathan Drouin slicing and dicing through opposition defenses, but imagine our surprise when a young Danish kid joined the team who had Drouin's hands, but could do it all at very, very high speed.
He's a pure offensive weapon, that will need to bulk up to survive the rigors of the NHL. If he can do that, he'll be a productive winger on a scoring line. As much as it pains me to say it, he reminds me of Patrick Kane, what with the ability to dangle in tight spaces, firing off a shot behind the goaltender before the defending team knows what hit them.
An incredibly skilled forward, Ehlers makes plays at high speeds and doesn’t mind going to the tough areas in order to score. Scouts see him as an excellent complementary player and have even hesitantly brought up teammate Jonathan Drouin as a comparable, as lofty as that sounds. While playing for Biel last year, he even got to practise with locked-out NHL stars Tyler Seguin and Patrick Kane. And along with getting the Mooseheads back to the Memorial Cup for a title defense, Ehlers will be counted on at the world juniors next season with Denmark. - The Hockey News
Coming into the season ranked as a Top 60 pick and continually improving, Nikolaj Ehlers has solidified himself as the top 2014 draft prospect from the QMJHL. At the beginning of the year, I was questioning Ehlers’ consistency but the 17-year-old Danish winger has not only met expectations, he's shattered them. The 6-footer has blazing speed and top six talent at the next level, but it's his consistency that has been most impressive. Ehlers has entrenched himself as a middle-of-the-first round pick at worst and there's a legitimate chance he could find a home in the top 10 when it's all said and done. You know that will be on his mind as he'll have an opportunity to surpass Mikkel Boedker (8th overall, 2008) as the highest drafted Danish player in Entry Draft history. - The Scouting ReportEhlers is an explosive player who can beat even the quickest defensemen wide with his speed. He plays on his off wing and creates chances with sharp cuts to the middle comple- mented by an explosive wrister. He's equally good with the puck and can handle it both at top speed and in traffic. - Elite Prospects
A Good Fit in Columbus?
This one is tough. Look at the Gaborik situation- the Jackets have a clear identity, that of a cadre of hard-working, lunch pail-toting lads that mucks their way to victory. Gaborik isn't that kind of player, and was ineffective in Columbus. He's now on a team where cuteness with the puck is the order of the day, and he's excelling. Would a pure offensive player like Ehlers fit in with the blue-collar Jackets?
I'm of the opinion that there is always room for pure skill in the lineup, in the right situation. You put Ehlers with Ryan Johansen and a space-maker like Boone Jenner, and you've got a plum situation. You try to put Ehlers with Dubinsky, Foligno or Anisimov, and it might not be the best recipe.
This isn't to say that Ehlers is shoehorned as a top line player, it's just that to be best utilize his talents he needs to be on a scoring line.
I'll be over the moon ecstatic if the Jackets draft this kid. I think he's the explosive offensive weapon that this team needs. It'll take a few seasons for him to truly arrive, but when he does- the Jackets will have a star.
Ehlers in Action