NHL Draft Profile: Nikolaj Ehlers
Explosive speed and consistent productivity on a strong junior team has landed Nikolaj Ehlers numerous awards and earned the undivided attention of NHL scouts.
The Danish winger, currently a member of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, has turned heads with a rocket wrist shot and precision playmaking ability. Ehlers has the explosiveness to be a game-breaker whenever he jumps over the boards, and that's a big part of what makes him such an attractive prospect.
Playing for a star-studded Mooseheads team, Ehlers accumulated the fourth-highest point total in the QMJHL with 104 points this past season (49 goals and 55 assists). Shockingly, he did not lead the team in points; that honor goes to teammate Jonathan Drouin - drafted No. 3 overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013 - whose 108 points ranked third in the league.
Ehlers and the Mooseheads compiled a 47-18-3 record during the 2013-14 campaign, clinching the Maritime division and second seed in the league playoffs in the process. Halifax fell to Val-D’or 4-3 in the semifinal, thus ending a disappointing season without a Memorial Cup berth.
His mantle is full of hardware, though: during the 2013-14 season alone, Ehlers was a QMJHL all-rookie team member, had the league's best plus/minus (+65), won the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league’s best prospect, scored the most goals, assists and points by a rookie, was named offensive rookie of the year (the Michel Bergeron trophy,) rookie of the year and second All-Star team.
Here’s what Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr had to say about Ehlers:
"The big question was how he would handle the durability of playing in the QMJHL and playing more games. But he's proven to be a skilled forward who can work some magic with Jonathan Drouin. He's got that quickness where he can separate from a check and get to the net. He's got soft hands and passes with authority, is a clever playmaker and very unselfish.”