So, all is quiet on the Souray front, the Gagner front….but we have some news.
Well, now the word Eklund might be permanently tied to the Oilers. Jim Matheson suggests as much in his article http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Pelle+Eklund+become+Oilers+scout/3408663/story.html
That said, we are undermanned in Europe with scouts, and this could turn out to be a fortunate move, considering the resignation of Kent Nilsson. Personally, I agree with Scott Reynolds at Copper and Blue in his assessment that Kenta wasn’t that great a scout to begin with. http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/7/25/1584338/the-magic-man-disappears
Although having y0ur team connected with the name Eklund might be auspicious at best, and looking at the Habs draft history, they didn’t lean on him very much, considering they hired him in October of 2007 to scout in Sweden, the Habs selected no Swedes in 2008 or 2009. One might suggest he might have had input on the two Finns selected in the 3rd and 7th round in 2009 (Joonas Nattinen and Petteri Simila), but that isn’t enough to hang his hat on, nor hang him over.
Going back a year prior, he was with the San Jose Sharks as their European Scout. That was for only one season 2006-07. Under his watch the Sharks selected Timo Pielmeier and Patrik Zackrisson .
None the picks look particularly good, but neither do they look horrible. Pielmeier was pretty good for the Shawinigan Cataractes in the QMJHL in 2008-09 and had a fairly rough year in Bakersfield in the ECHL last year but very early on the goalie. Zackrisson was 20 when San Jose drafted him so he had some SEL stats behind him and has progressed. Maybe not to NHL quality but is a quality SEL forward.
For the Habs, the Finns were mid to late picks so nothing really too disappointing in his one draft.
Prior to that from what I can find out Eklund started scouting in 1999-00 for Phoenix in a post he kept to 2002-03. The one pick you might look at as suspect on his watch was Sjostrom in 2001 with Hamhuis and Hemsky following right after.
Jakub Koreis was the next Coyote first rounder, and if we believe that Pelle Eklund had a hand in this European pick. Nothing after him was particularly good, other than the sporadic solid pick. (Stoll, Keith, Greene, Daley, Stajan, and our own Tom Gilbert to Colorado). Ultimately it doesn’t seem to be a very solid draft so he doesn’t get a big fail, but a flubbed first rounder is never a good thing. (Yes, the Oil took Jesse Niinimaki four picks earlier).
So, what does all this tell us about Pelle Eklund the scout? Really, not much. Maybe his former employers give him good references, but Jarmo Kelkalainen he isn’t.