The Dashing Dane is back in the QMJHL and the team he calls home, the Halifax Mooseheads. On October 5th the Winnipeg Jets announced that 18-year-old Nikolaj Ehlers was reassigned after having a great camp and his first taste of the National Hockey League. After three straight losses, it can easily be said that all fans and teammates are excited to have him back wearing the red and green. He came into the CHL with a bang having 49 goals, 55 assists in 63 games and earning himself the CHL Rookie of the Year award for the 2013-14 season . After only one season, most could compare Ehlers to Mooseheads alumni, and NHL rookies, Nathan Mackinnon and Jonathan Drouin.
Ehlers comes from a strong hockey background with his father playing for 20 years in Europe and is currently coaching the Lausanne HC team. Nikolaj started his career in Switzerland playing for the EHC Biel, before being drafted 6th overall by the Mooseheads in the 2013 CHL Import Draft. He was named to the CHL/NHL Top Prospects team which took place in Calgary, playing for team Orr. He was then ranked number 22 among North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft. Making history, he was drafted ninth overall by the Winnipeg Jets, becoming the highest drafted Danish player to ever do so and the first ever Moosehead to go to Winnipeg. On September 2nd, it was announced that he had signed a three-year entry-level contract.
"“When my agent called me today and said that everything was finalized, that the deal had been done, I couldn’t stop smiling to be honest. I had a big smile on my face, and I had to call my parents right away, and my siblings, so it’s amazing.”- Nikolaj Ehlers"
On September 30th, Ehlers scored the game winning goal that allowed the Jets to beat the Senators 2-1. After having a great experience with Winnipeg, one more season in the CHL will only help ensure that he makes the NHL next time around. The Jets, finishing with a 35-37-10 last season, could use the scoring power and quick speed of #24 to avoid missing the playoffs again. For now, he plans to help the Mooseheads get back on track this season and help in any way that he can.
"“The way I’m going to show myself as (a) leader, is to go out there, play hard every single game (and) be a good character on and off the ice” -Ehlers"
In every game he plays, he shows the stick-handling skills and speed of his favourite player, Patrick Kane, giving fans have a lot to look forward to. Ehlers will begin to add to his impressive resume again this Friday in Halifax at the Scotiabank Centre.