In my previous post detailing the Top Questions Heading into the Winnipeg Jets 2015-16 season, one of the bullet points revolved around Winnipeg Jets 2014 1st Round Pick Nikolaj Ehlers.
Ehlers tore up the QMJHL the last two seasons scoring 205 points in 114 games (1.79 points per game). At the NHL rookie showcase in Toronto earlier this month the Danish forward said, “I have proven what I can do, and what kind of player I am, it’s time for me to play against bigger men.”
At age 19, Ehlers is too young to play in the AHL; the easiest way for him to avoid going back to the QMJHL would be to make the Winnipeg Jets roster. However, if Ehlers doesn’t make the Jets, his agent would look at all available options.
“I talked to his agent Andre Rufener from Switzerland. Right now the goal for Ehlers is very single minded, that is: make the Winnipeg Jets roster. But if he doesn’t; in concert with the Winnipeg Jets they will decide what’s best for his development, and they will look at any and all other options. Ruefener did suggest that returning to Halifax of the Canadian Hockey League was at the very bottom of the list. That if they can avoid that at all costs they will. They will explore their European options and look at the fine print of the transfer agreement to see if it’s possible to see him play in the AHL the way Julius Honka did when he left Swift Current to play for Dallas’ farm team. Stay tuned on that one but it would be pretty clear Nikolaj Ehlers would prefer not to go to Halifax this season.”
Ehlers finished the YoungStars Tournament in Penticton on a high note, recording three assists in a 5-4 OT win vs. the Oilers YoungStars. If Ehlers wants to stick with the Jets he’ll have to show that he can keep up at the NHL level.