San Jose Barracuda
‘Honest’ Eklund Will Get Long Look With Sharks
William Eklund is going to get a long look.
“He’s gonna get some run. He’ll get a chance to play through some things and get an opportunity,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said this afternoon, after Eklund was called up.
Eklund is the Sharks’ consensus top prospect. The 2021 seventh-overall pick has 41 points in 52 games this season for the San Jose Barracuda.
“I get more and more comfortable playing. The games have been better and better for me from my standpoint, and I’ve been able to score some points,” Eklund told San Jose Hockey Now about his growth this season, highlighted by a four-point effort against the Abbotsford Canucks on Feb. 20.
He did make a brief cameo appearance in the NHL last season, playing nine games and finishing with four assists.
“His game transfers,” Quinn mused. “He plays [with] a lot of energy. He’s honest. He’s got some skill and consistency.”
From Quinn, being called “honest” is a real compliment.
Eklund back with #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/fvy7NnyfBA
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 3, 2023
“It’s been a good journey and trending upwards,” Eklund continued about his incubation in the AHL this season. “I’m trying to take some tips and tricks from the other players around me and other coaches. I think they’ve been really good to me. They are teaching me how to play defense and all that stuff.”
Grier has been impressed with Eklund’s maturation this season.
“I didn’t want to hand these [Barracuda prospects] anything. I think Ecky probably for the last month has probably been the most consistent and best player down there. So we felt this was a good time to reward him for that,” the GM said, noting that he’s trying to strike the balance between rewarding his prospects with NHL time but not “pillaging” a Cuda side trying to make the playoffs. “He’s put his head down. He’s never complained, never asked, why aren’t I up?”
With multiple key players no longer on the San Jose Sharks roster because of trades, this could be Eklund’s opportunity to really show that he has taken a step forward in his development.
It is worth noting, according to Grier, that Eklund’s entry-level contract does “slide” into next year if he plays nine or less NHL games. So we’ll see how long a look Eklund really gets.
“[It will be] like the first time, I think,” Eklund said about playing in SAP Center again. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 16, 2021 against the Winnipeg Jets at SAP Center.
“It’s one thing that I’ve missed a lot, being able to step out there at SAP Center. It’s gonna be real fun.”
The San Jose Sharks take on the Washington Capitals tomorrow after at 3 PM.
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