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Prospect Update: Olle Eriksson Ek
By Thomas Harrington
A fifth round pick from 2017, goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek completed his third season of hockey in North America. It was his first season spent entirely in San Diego as the Gulls’ backup goaltender.
Eriksson Ek played in 26 games for the Gulls. Lukas Dostal, San Diego’s starter, played in 40, so even though he was the backup, Eriksson Ek played a decent amount last season. He had a record of 7-15-3, with a 3.44 goals against average, a .880 save percentage and one shutout. The lone shutout came against Ontario in March. Eriksson Ek had a rough start to the season, losing his first three starts, but was much better over the next six games when he had a record of 4-1-1.
Unfortunately he struggled from that point on, and after picking up a win against Ontario in December, he didn’t win again until March, also against Ontario. Eriksson Ek played eight games over that stretch and lost seven of them, and did not receive the win or loss in the other game, as Francis Marotte picked up the loss there. Eriksson Ek came in for relief after Marotte gave up three goals on seven shots. Starting with that win against Ontario, Eriksson Ek won three of his next four games, but didn’t pick up any more victories the rest of the season. Eriksson Ek did not start either playoff game for the Gulls, but Dostal was pulled in game one and Eriksson Ek finished the game. He faced 10 shots and stopped them all.
I had two expectations for Eriksson Ek last summer, but he only achieved one of them. At the time, I wasn’t sure if he’d be in the AHL or ECHL, but I wanted him to play in more total games than he did in 2020-2021. He played 15 AHL games and five ECHL games in that season. By playing 26 games for the Gulls he met that expectation. My other expectation was for him to put up better numbers, regardless of league. Unfortunately, Eriksson Ek saw his goals against average rise from 3.14 to 3.44 and his save percentage fall from .901 to .880. However, he was able to record his first career AHL shutout. Part of the reason for the fall in numbers is that San Diego wasn’t a great team last year, but part of it also was that Eriksson Ek had a poor season.
This coming season, Eriksson Ek should likely be Dostal’s backup again. The Ducks have not brought in other goaltenders for San Diego, so his position should be secured for now. However, the Ducks have a number of other goaltending prospects who could be pushing for time with the Gulls in the very near future. If Eriksson Ek wants to keep his spot with the Gulls, he’s going to need to be much better this season.
I have one expectation for Eriksson Ek this year: to put a bad year behind him and improve on his numbers this coming season. Hopefully the Gulls overall will have a better year, and improved play from Eriksson Ek can go a long way to making that happen.
Eriksson Ek was a restricted free agent this summer and was signed to a one-year, two-way extension. He’ll be a restricted free agent again a year from now. If he struggles again, I don’t expect the Ducks to qualify him and instead have one of their prospects like Calle Clang or Gage Alexander be brought in to be the backup in San Diego. However, if he has a bounce back season then he’ll likely get another extension to stay with the Gulls. If Dostal is in Anaheim by that time, then he might even be in the position to become San Diego’s starter.
The next prospect update will be on Sean Tschigerl.
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September 16th, 2022