Sharks draft elite Swedish winger Eklund with 7th pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
With the No. 7 overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Sharks on Friday selected Swedish left-winger William Eklund.
Eklund, 18, scored 11 goals and 23 points in 40 games playing with Djurgarden in Sweden’s top professional league last season. He becomes San Jose's highest draft pick since Milan Michalek was selected with the sixth overall pick in 2003.
Arguably the most dynamic skater and skilled forward available in the draft, Eklund was ranked as the top European skater available by NHL.com. He was ranked as No. 2 prospect in the draft by EliteProspects.com, the No. 3 overall prospect on The Athletic's Consensus Big Board and the No. 5 overall prospect by Sportsnet.
An elite skater with tremendous skill, Eklund immediately becomes the top prospect in the Sharks' system. At 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, he isn't a huge body, but his success in the SHL at such a young age suggests he could make his NHL debut not too far down the line.
Friday is just the first round of the 2021 draft, and the Sharks do not currently have an additional first-round selection. The draft will resume with rounds two through seven on Saturday.