Chicago Blackhawks fans weren’t happy when the team traded up—and—coming forward Ryan Hartman to the Nashville Predators in February. The return of a 2018 first— and fourth-round pick and Swedish forward prospect Victor Ejdsell seemed less than ideal for Hartman, who scored 19 goals during the 2016-17 season, and a 2018 fifth-rounder. Three months later, fans were singing Ejdsell’s praises after a highlight—filled Calder Cup playoff run with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL.
Position: Left winger/Center
Birth date: June 6, 1995 (23 years old)
Acquired via: Trade with Nashville
Most recent stop: Rockford IceHogs — AHL
Size: 6’5, 214 pounds
Contract: 1 year — $883,750 salary cap hit
After losing a player like Hartman in the trade, fans wondered just how “offensive minded” Ejdsell would be. Standing a towering 6-foot-5, one would not think of Ejdsell as a scoring threat. But the best thing about him, is that he can score efficiently without peppering shots on goal. He relies on positioning and size to find the most opportune scoring chances, and then capitalizes on them with a deadly accurate shot.
A perfect example of this was his game-winning goal in the Western Conference Final in last season’s Calder Cup playoffs, when Ejdsell found some space away from the puck for a wide-open scoring chance.
Ejdsell also had an essential role on Rockford’s power-play with eight goals in 10 opportunities on the man advantage. He scored seven goals — on only 16 shots — with five assists in 13 playoff games. Even when playing for HV71 in the SHL, Ejdsell scored 20 goals on 116 shots across 50 games.
He might not be a high-volume shooter with those number, but he’s an effective scorer with pinpoint accuracy and a big body. Ejdsell could definitely be a piece Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville would look to add to the roster.
As a center, Ejdsell had a tendency to get lost on the neutral zone during 5-on-5 rushes and tire out while battling in front of the net. Due to his size, Ejdsell would over-handle pucks and turn them over during routine plays. Rockford coach Jeremy Colliton moved Ejdsell to left wing for the playoffs, and allowed Ejdsell to use his size and energy to maintain possession and body defenders off the puck. With his increased sense of awareness, we hope Ejdsell continues to stay at the wing to create effective scoring chances.
What’s next in 2018-19?
Ejdsell is one of number of players who will be competing for a bottom-six forward role on the Hawks’ main roster. If he doesn’t make the cut, he’ll start in Rockford and look to build off his postseason success. With his scoring ability and size, he’ll be a top candidate to be recalled during the season.