William Eklund could be the first Sweden-born left wing to be the first selected at his position in the NHL Draft since the Colorado Avalanche chose left wing Gabriel Landeskog No. 2 in the 2011 NHL Draft.
The 18-year-old (5-foot-10, 176 pounds) played most of the season on a line with his good friend, New Jersey Devils forward prospect Alexander Holtz, with Djurgarden of the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional league in the country.
He received the 2021 E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, presented annually to the top draft prospect who best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.
“I can see a bit of (former NHL forward) Henrik Zetterberg in him but also a bit of (Nashville Predators forward) Filip Forsberg with his way of getting those pucks to the net,” Djurgarden CEO Thomas Kraft said of Eklund. “He can create intelligent plays on the rush, cover the puck tight along the boards and is very effective on the cycle.
“He has that unique ability to make a difference and win games, which obviously is a great asset for a player his, or any age, for that matter.”
Here are NHL.com’s top 10 left wings available for the 2021 NHL Draft:
1. William Eklund, Djurgarden (SWE)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (International skaters)
Eklund has good speed, puck skills and vision. He scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists), including two power-play goals and three game-winning goals, and had 63 shots on goal while averaging 15:29 of ice time in 40 games, and was named SHL rookie of the year. He excelled while overcame significant adversity this season, including an emergency appendectomy and a positive COVID-19 test.
2. Brennan Othmann, Flint (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 8 (North American skaters)
With the Ontario Hockey League not playing this season due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, Othmann (6-0, 175) played on loan with Olten in the Swiss League, the second-highest professional league in Switzerland. The 18-year-old scored 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 34 games playing with and against experienced professionals, and also showed a willingness to block shots and make the game tough on opponents. He scored six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games to help Canada win the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. He scored a goal and took seven shots on goal in a 5-3 win against Russia in the championship game.
3. Zachary L’Heureux, Halifax (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 30 (North American skaters)
L’Heureux (5-11, 196) may have the best hands of any draft-eligible prospect in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, according to J-F Damphousse of NHL Central Scouting. The 18-year-old was second on Halifax with 39 points (19 goals, 20 assists) and 130 shots on goal in 33 games. He’s at his best when playing physical and driving to the net.
4. Dylan Duke, USA U-18 (NTDP)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 29 (North American skaters)
Duke (5-10, 175) is relentless on the forecheck and will hunt pucks down to create offense off pressure. The 18-year-old was second on the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team with 29 goals and 49 points in 50 games, tying for first with nine power-play goals and four game-winning goals. He scored three goals in five games for the United States at the U-18s.
5. William Stromgren, Modo (SWE-2)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 14 (International skaters)
Stromgren (6-3, 175) scored five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games for third-place Sweden at the U-18 World Championship. The 18-year-old, who possesses good speed and mobility, started the season with Modo’s Under-20 team, scoring 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in 14 games. He scored nine points (three goals, six assists) in 27 games with Modo in Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second division.
6. Aleksandr Kisakov, Dynamo Moscow 2 (RUS-JR)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 7 (International skaters)
Kisakov (5-10, 150) loves to get involved where the action is, according to Goran Stubb, European director of Central Scouting. The 18-year-old was second in the MHL, Russia’s junior league, with 73 points (36 goals, 37 assists) in 61 games, and scored 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 14 playoff games to help Dynamo Moscow win the MHL championship. He plays bigger than his frame, will go to key areas to retrieve pucks and can play both left and right wing.
7. Prokhor Poltapov, CSKA 2 (RUS-JR)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 18 (International skaters)
Poltapov (6-0, 176) has a great motor and excellent offensive instincts, and uses his skating speed and hockey sense on every shift, according to Stubb. The 18-year-old led his team with 52 points (25 goals, 27 assists) in 61 games in Russia’s junior league, and played well enough to make his debut in the Kontinental Hockey League, playing one game with CSKA.
8. Conner Roulette, Seattle (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 36 (North American skaters)
Roulette (5-11, 180) is a goal-scorer with game-breaking ability, according to Central Scouting’s John Williams. The 18-year-old found ways to produce in a secondary role for Canada at the U-18s, scoring five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games. Roulette also scored 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 11 Western Hockey League games.
9. Ayrton Martino, Omaha (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 46 (North American skaters)
Martino (5-11, 160) led United States Hockey League rookies with 56 points (18 goals, 38 assists) in 38 games, his average of 1.47 points per game was fifth among all USHL players, and he scored 20 power-play points (four goals, 16 assists) and three shorthanded points (two goals, one assist). The 18-year-old is an outstanding playmaker who has shown quickness in all areas. He is committed to play at Clarkson University next season.
10. Ville Koivunen, Karpat Jr. (FIN-JR)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 20 (International skaters)
Koivunen (5-11, 161), who reads the game well and has showcased good puck control in tight situations, scored 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 38 games and was named rookie of the year in Finland’s junior league. He finished second in scoring for fourth-place Finland with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games at the U-18s.
Listen: New episode of NHL Draft Class
2021 NHL Draft Tracker: Round 1 picks, notes; Results for Rounds 2-7 – NHL
The 2021 NHL Draft began as expected: with the Sabres selecting Owen Power first overall. From there, we saw surprises, including one that required a team statement.
With Round 1 complete on Friday, follow along on PHT for results from Rounds 2-7.
2021 NHL Draft
1. Buffalo Sabres — Owen Power, D, Michigan (NCAA)
“In truth, he is a unique player, combining amazing size, strong skating, a big shot, great vision, the ability (if not necessarily the proclivity) to play a dominating physical game.” Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey
2. Seattle Kraken — Matthew Beniers, C, Michigan (NCAA)
It’s probably not fair to compare Beniers to Ron Francis, the Kraken GM who drafted him. That will be tough to avoid, though, because Beniers brings the sort of two-way game that’s expected to translate smoothly to the NHL.
Want more on Beniers, and the Kraken making their first-ever draft pick at No. 2? Click here.
3. Anaheim Ducks — Mason McTavish, C, Peterborough (OHL)
“The Ducks desperately need offensive players, and in McTavish they get high-end skill blended with size and strength through the middle. And McTavish was an impact player during his time in the Swiss League, playing with and against older, more physically developed competition.” — NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman.
4. New Jersey Devils — Luke Hughes, D, USA U-18 (USNTDP)
Doesn’t get much better than keeping brothers together, does it? Jack Hughes certainly looked elated that the Devils drafted Luke Hughes fourth overall, that’s for sure.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) July 24, 2021
5. Columbus Blue Jackets — Kent Johnson, C, Michigan (NCAA)
“His puck skills are sublime, even if he needs to simplify his game to manage his risk taking better.” Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey
A historic night:
— Michigan Athletics 〽️ (@UMichAthletics) July 24, 2021
6. Detroit Red Wings — Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda (SHL)
Edvinsson ranks as one of the 2021 NHL Draft’s most interesting prospects, as he was projected to fall in many spots. No doubt, size is a big selling point for the big Swedish defenseman.
” (Edvinsson) … combines incredible skating and puck skills in a supersized frame, a talent the likes of which this team has nothing like. He is raw, and likely needs at least two more years of development, but the upside is a star,” Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey
7. San Jose Sharks — William Eklund, LW, Djurgarden (SHL)
People started to clamor for Eklund pretty quickly.
We’ve reached the point of the draft where every pick from this point forward that is not William Eklund will be met with a large scoff from me.
— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) July 24, 2021
Well, the fall didn’t last too long? Depends upon who you ask, perhaps. (Ryan Wagman mock-drafted Eklund at seven.)
8. Los Angeles Kings – Brandt Clarke, D, Barrie (OHL)
” … In a sentence, Clarke projects as a second or third defenseman who can be on a top NHL power-play unit but may not be able to face top opponents defensively.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (sub required).
9. Arizona Coyotes (from VAN) — Dylan Guenther, RW, Edmonton (WHL)
” … He becomes a massive component of Arizona’s next rebuild. I see a lot about his game that translates to the pros and you can see him finishing plays from Clayton Keller, Barrett Hayton and Victor Soderstrom for many years, and driving a line with his great two-way play. He was my No. 2 ranked prospect,” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (sub required).
10. Ottawa Senators — Tyler Boucher, RW, USA U-18 (USNTDP)
“In a sentence, Boucher projects as a bottom-six NHL winger who will be one of the most physical players in a game.” Corey Pronman, The Athletic (sub required).
*11. Forfeited pick*
12. Columbus Blue Jackets (from CHI) — Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls (USHL)
“Sillinger stands out for his high-end hockey IQ, excellent vision, playmaking ability, an NHL-ready shot and the ability to control the game with the puck on his stick.” – NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman.
13. Calgary Flames — Matthew Coronato, RW, Chicago (USHL)
“Coronato is a dominant offensive force who blends top-end goal scoring, strong skating and a physical approach, similar to United States Hockey Hall of Fame forward John LeClair. He was nicknamed “Bison” because of the way he goes hard to the net in the offensive zone.” – NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman.
14. Buffalo Sabres (from PHI) — Isak Rosen, RW, Leksands IF (SHL)
“Isak Rosen has a full toolshed of high-end offensive elements. Being forced to play in the SHL after the Swedish junior leagues were cancelled didn’t help his stat page, but was a great learning experience, which his seven goals in seven games at the U18s illustrated.” – Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey
15. Detroit Red Wings (from DAL) — Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton (WHL)
Heading into the 2021 NHL Draft, people wondered if as many as two goalies could go in the top 10. There was also debate between Cossa or Jesper Wallstedt as the first goalie to go in the 2021 NHL Draft. Ultimately, the Red Wings traded up to land a big goalie. They’ve been aggressive attempting to improve at net, as Cossa is the prospect to pair with prime-age goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
16. NY Rangers — Brennan Othmann, LW, Flint (OHL)
17. St. Louis Blues — Zachary Bolduc, C, Rimouski (QMJHL)
18. Winnipeg Jets – Chaz Lucius, C, USA U-18 (USNTDP)
19. Nashville Predators — Fedor Svechkov, C, Togliatti (VHL)
20. Minnesota Wild (from EDM) – Jesper Wallstedt, G, Lulea (SHL)
Jesper Wallstedt was a league-average goalie who played 22 games in the SHL, one of the best leagues in the world. As a draft-eligible player.
That’s unprecedented this century for a 17-year-old.
Getting him for the cost of a 3rd in a weak draft is nice work by Judd Brackett
— Tony of the USS 10KRinks.com (@OhHiTony) July 24, 2021
21. Boston Bruins — Fabian Lysell, RW, Lulea (SHL)
The Bruins inject some much-needed skill in their prospect pool with a guy like Fabian Lysell. His highlight reel is … fun to watch: pic.twitter.com/ySovl7mxbu
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) July 24, 2021
22. Edmonton Oilers (from MIN) — Xavier Bourgault, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
23. Dallas Stars (Detroit; WSH) — Wyatt Johnston, C, Windsor (OHL)
24. Florida Panthers — Mackie Samoskevich, RW, Chicago (USHL)
25. Columbus Blue Jackets (from TOR) — Corson Ceulemans, D, Brooks (AJHL)
26. Minnesota Wild (from PIT) — Carson Lambos, D, Winnipeg (WHL)
27. Nashville Predators (from CAR) — Zachary L’Heureux, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
28. Colorado Avalanche — Oskar Olausson, RW, HV71 (SHL)
29. New Jersey Devils (from NYI) — Chase Stillman, RW, Sudbury (OHL)
30. Vegas Golden Knights — Zach Dean, C, Gatineau (QMJHL)
31. Montreal Canadiens — Logan Mailloux, D, London (OHL)
32. Chicago Blackhawks (from TBL via CBJ) — Nolan Allan, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
Pick 11 – The NHL directed the forfeiture of this pick in sanctions against the Arizona Coyotes announced Aug. 26, 2020.
Also, here’s the complete 2021 NHL Draft order for rounds 2-7:
33. Buffalo Sabres: Prokhor Poltapov, LW, CSKA-2 (MHL)
34. Anaheim Ducks: Olen Zellweger, D, Everett (WHL)
35. Seattle Kraken: Ryker Evans, D, Regina (WHL)
36. Detroit Red Wings: Shai Buium, D, Sioux City (USHL)
37. Arizona Coyotes: Josh Doan, RW, Chicago (USHL)
38. Vegas Golden Knights: Daniil Chayka, D, CSKA (Russia)
39. Ottawa Senators: Zack Ostapchuk, C, Vancouver (WHL)
40. Carolina Hurricanes: Scott Morrow, D, Shattuck St. Mary’s (High MN)
41. Vancouver Canucks: Danila Klimovich, RW, Minsk Zubry (Belarus 2)
42. Los Angeles Kings: Francesco Pinelli, C, Kitchener (OHL)
43. Arizona Coyotes: Ilya Fedotov, LW, Nizhny Novgorod 2 (Russia Jr.)
44. Columbus (from CHI)
48. Detroit (from NYR)
49. Los Angeles (from STL via BUF and VGK)
52. NY Islanders (from DET via EDM)
53. Buffalo (from BOS)
60. Arizona (from NYI via COL)
61. Colorado (from NJD via NYI)
62. Chicago (from VGK)
64. Montreal (from TBL)
65. NY Rangers (from BUF)
68. New Jersey
71. San Jose
72. Los Angeles
73. Dallas (from VAN)
75. Washington (from ARI via NJD)
76. Montreal (from CHI)
80. NY Rangers
81. St. Louis
84. Calgary (from EDM)
87. Montreal (from WSH via SJS)
88. Buffalo (from FLA)
89. Los Angeles (from TOR)
90. Minnesota (from PIT via SJS)
93. NY Islanders
94. Carolina (from DET via VGK)
95. Buffalo (from MTL)
96. Tampa Bay
100. New Jersey
103. San Jose
104. NY Rangers (from LAK)
105. Chicago (from VAN)
106. NY Rangers (from OTT)
109. Los Angeles (from CGY)
112. NY Rangers
113. Montreal (from STL)
114. Vegas (from WPG)
121. San Jose (from TOR)
122. Arizona (from PIT)
124. Nashville (from COL via OTT)
125. NY Islanders
126. Montreal (from VGK)
128. Detroit (from TBL)
129. New Jersey (from BUF)
132. Columbus (from NJD)
135. San Jose
136. Los Angeles
138. Detroit (from OTT via MTL)
140. Vancouver (from CHI)
142. Montreal (from PHI)
144. NY Rangers
145. St. Louis
148. Anaheim (from EDM via OTT)
155. Vegas (from CAR)
156. San Jose (from COL)
157. NY Islanders
158. Philadelphia (from VGK via WSH)
159. Buffalo (from MTL)
160. Tampa Bay
164. New Jersey
167. San Jose
168. Los Angeles
176. NY Rangers
177. St. Louis
178. Vancouver (from WPG)
186. Edmonton (from PIT)
188. Buffalo (from COL)
189. NY Islanders
192. Tampa Bay
194. Pittsburgh (from ANA)
196. Tampa Bay (from NJD)
198. St. Louis (from DET)
199. San Jose
200. Carolina (from LAK)
203. New Jersey (from ARI)
208. NY Rangers
209. Carolina (from STL)
210. Florida (from WPG)
211. Tampa Bay (from NSH)
215. Pittsburgh (from WSH)
216. Chicago (from FLA)
217. Boston (from TOR)
221. NY Islanders
224. Tampa Bay
Gender disparities still vex Tokyo Olympic Games – BBC News
At the first Olympic Games of the modern era, Athens 1896, International Olympic Committee (IOC) founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin barred women from competing.
In Paris four years later, 22 female athletes were invited in five ladies sports, while nearly 1,000 men took on the rest of the events.
This year, the Games have nearly reached gender parity.
Of the almost 11,000 Olympic athletes in Tokyo almost 49% are women, according to the IOC, marking the first “gender-balanced” games in its history.
At the Paralympics, at least 40.5% of athletes will be women, the IOC said, with about 100 more female athletes than in Rio de Janiero in 2016.
But 125 years after the first Olympics, the games are still clouded by missteps and hasty corrections relating to gender, underscoring the distance left to go.
Here’s a look at some of the challenges faced by female Olympians, before they can even go for the gold. Representatives of the IOC did not respond to a request for comment.
Mandy Bujold, 33, is one of the best female flyweight boxers in the world.
An 11-time Canadian national champion with two Pan-American Games titles, she was ranked eighth in the world in 2018 when she took a break from boxing to give birth to her daughter, Kate Olympia – or KO.
She planned her comeback for Tokyo – a plan that was derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Boxing’s qualifying events were cancelled and the IOC’s boxing task force turned instead to three tournaments in 2018 and 2019, when Ms Bujold was pregnant or postpartum and not competing.
Ms Bujold was forced to fight for her spot outside the ring, taking on boxing’s international body in court.
Weeks before the games began, Ms Bujold won with a ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an international body in Switzerland, that said accommodation must be made for women who are pregnant or postpartum during the qualifying period.
“My Olympic dream is still intact,” she said. “It was one of the biggest fights of my career, but also the fight with the most meaning.”
However, advocates say Ms Bujold’s pre-Olympic fight is clear evidence of the gender gap.
“Sport has been built, designed and organised for male participants,” said Cheryl Cooky, a professor of gender studies at Purdue University and editor of Sociology of Sport Journal.
When exceptions are made, “it’s considered a ‘special’ accommodation” – another way of saying that women’s sports are “less” than men’s, she said.
A back-and-forth on breastfeeding
As part of the Games’ Covid-19 safeguards, the IOC barred all athletes’ family members from traveling to Tokyo.
For Kim Gaucher, a Canadian basketball player, the rule meant a choice between her third Olympic Games and her infant daughter.
“Right now I’m being forced to decide between being a breastfeeding mom and an Olympic athlete, I can’t have them both,” Ms Gaucher said in a video posted to Instagram in June.
The IOC initially denied Gaucher’s formal appeals, saying it was unlikely that any “unaccredited people from overseas” would be allowed to attend.
Tokyo’s organisers reversed themselves three weeks ahead of the Games following Gaucher’s video plea and mounting public pressure.
“That is not acceptable. Infants are not fans, they’re not ‘unaccredited persons’, they’re children with needs,” said Nicole M LaVoi, the director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota. “You can’t claim to value and respect women and give that lip service and then have a misstep like this.”
And both Ms LaVoi and Ms Cooky said that incidents like this place an asterisk alongside women’s sports, reinforcing the idea that the field is not really meant for them.
The IOC’s gender imbalance
While IOC has made gender parity a priority for Olympic athletes, that standard has not been applied the IOC itself.
Women make up 33.3% of its executive board, and 37.5% of committee members overall are female.
“We’ve never had a woman as the president of the IOC, ever,” Ms LaVoi said. “That’s telling.”
And in recent months, some of the men in charged have undermined the IOC’s message of commitment to gender equality.
In February, the president of the Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee was replaced after remarking publicly that women speak too much in meetings. One month later, the creative director of the Games’ opening ceremony stepped down after it was revealed he had mocked a plus-size fashion designer for her appearance.
This week, the Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates sparked criticism following a bizarre exchange with the premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszuck, in which Mr Coates ordered Ms Palaszuck to attend the opening ceremony.
Advocates say that as long as the IOC remains male-dominated – “a good old boys club”, said Ms LaVoi – female athletes will be left at a disadvantage.
In the meantime, gender progress at the Olympics will be spotty – marred by the types of challenges faced by Mandy Bujold and Kim Gaucher.
“Would these even be controversies if the people in the room weren’t majority men?” Ms Cooky said. “I don’t think so.”
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