College programs all over the country know that, when you want to really impress an available player, you bring them into your house on a game day and let the environment, fans and atmosphere do the rest.
That’s what happened on Thursday, April 20.
Free agent center Victor Ejdsell (pronounced: “AID-sell”) was in Music City for Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinal between the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks. According to a report out of his native Sweden, Ejdsell was entertaining both clubs as NHL suitors (along with the Detroit Red Wings) but the Preds won the sweepstakes thanks to that experience leaving quite an impression on the 21-year old.
“A game is like a party,” Ejdsell told the Swedish newspaper Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (translated using Google Translate). “People are crazy. It was very special. It is completely different hockey over here.”
The 6’5”, 215-pound pivot put up monster numbers in HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s second highest tier in their professional system. His 57 points in 51 games led the entire league, his 25 goals were tied for third and his 32 assists were tied for second.
Having countrymen such as Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok and Mattias Ekholm in the room will help his transition to this side of the Atlantic Ocean but, as far as the organization’s depth chart goes, where does Ejdsell fit in?
Seeing as how he produced in Sweden’s second top league, it stands to reason he would start the 2017-18 year in Milwaukee, learn the North American game and grow from there. Expecting him to crack the big club right out the gate would be surprising to say the least.
Wherever he starts, Nashville signing a highly touted free agent like Ejdsell is something they’ve come up short on in years past. Furthermore, Chicago was one of the teams on his short list so the Preds were not only able to add his talents to their organization but they were also able to keep his talents away from a key team in their division.
What a 24 hour window of time for the Predators, eh? The puck drops on the biggest game in franchise history, they win said game, advancing to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history, sign 2013 sixth round pick Emil Pettersson and now land top free agent Ejdsell.
More to come once media availability is arranged.