Team: Leksand IF of the HockeyAllsvenskan Swedish League (SWE-2)
Hometown: Tingsryd, Sweden
Weight: 171 lbs
International Scouting Services: 9th
The Hockey News: 13th
Red Line Report: 7th
McKeen's Hockey: 7th
Why the Stars Would Want Him:
He's one of the fastest risers in this draft class and led the Allsvenskan league in plus/minus with a +44. Kevin Doell, who played eight games with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2007-08 season, was a teammate of Ekman-Larsson at Leksand, had this to say about the now 17-year old when interviewed by Hockey's Future:
"He has improved a ton in just the time I was with him in Leksand," Doell said. "He's a great skater with very good hands and makes smart plays with the puck. He has a lot of potential, but probably the most impressive thing about his game is his patience and calmness when he has the puck. He sometimes makes things look effortless. It's really impressive to see how calm and mature he looks on the ice. You forget he's only 17 years old."
In other words, he sounds like a Sergei Zubov starter kit. Though Marc Crawford might compare him to one of his former players still in Vancouver, Mattias Ohlund, who scored 47 goals and 135 assists from 1998-99 to 2003-04 when Crawford was behind the bench.
"The Nicklas Lidstrom comparisons are appropriate, as Larsson controls the flow of the game with his dynamic skill, vision, and poise with the puck .. a beautiful player to watch that quarterbacks the play coming out of his own end and has the ability to orchestrate plays through his stellar passing game."
Why the Stars Might Pass on Him:
Well, there aren't many reasons. Though it is worth pointing out that Ekman-Larsson won't turn 18 until July 17th.
But where the Stars are drafting, you're not going to find many players at the position who will provide immediate help next season. As such, it would be a really stupid reason to pass on this kid if he's there at #8.
The only reason they would is if a player ranked higher on Les Jackson's draft board was available.