Golden Knights Top Prospect Rankings: #3 Erik Brannstrom

Golden Knights Top Prospect Rankings: #3 Erik Brannstrom

Name: Erik Brännström

Position: LHD

Age: 18

Place of Birth: Eksjö, Sweden

Height: 5’11’’

Weight: 181lbs

Shoots: L

Drafted: 2017 1st round, 15th Overall

Last Season: HV71 – 44 Games, 2 Goals, 13 Assists, 15 Points, +/- = -3

You: Man, Shea Theodore’s pass to William Karlsson for that goal was so awesome! I don’t think a Golden Knight player will ever be able to top that!

Erik Brännström: Hold my (Swedish) beer…

Let this play be your introduction to Erik Brännström, a true chess-master defenseman whose skill and excitement is in the class of the few. Normally, we would come up with a more descriptive opening about overcoming odds, perseverence, and other things that only matter between games, but Erik’s talent is simply more entertaining.

The Eksjö native has similarities to a fellow prospect, Jonas Rondbjerg. Both are talented players playing in the highest tier of swedish hockey and both were trying to fight for ice time under other NHL ready talents. While Rondbjerg was competing for ice time with Elias Petterson, Brannstrom had the unenviable task of fighting for ice time against SHL defenseman of the year, Lawrence Pilut (Buffalo Sabres), possibly the best young defenceman coming out of Sweden not named Rasmus Dahlin,  But Brannstrom has already shown a degree of skill could make him a cornerstone of the Knights defence.

Brannstrom excelled at development camp this year. We used the term “Chess-master” before and that’s because Erik is incredibly intelligent on the ice, finding angles of attack that leaves opponents reeling. His skating is fast, elegant and graceful, he glides past opponents and can lead counter attacks with his speed. Erik can take over games offensively and can produce points in bunches. While his point totals with the main HV71 team don’t leap off the page,  he’s been a point per game player on his under-20 team. Keep in mind that Erik is only 18 and made it through a full season in the SHL, where the average age is 25.

With obvious top-pairing potential, he can quarterback a powerplay with confidence. He loves to control the PP and keeps the pressure on his opponents with the man advantage, his performances at world juniors show just how good he is at dictating the pace of play. Everything about Erik’s play just oozes confidence and charisma.

Golden Knights Watch has huge confidence in Brannstrom and expect him to be the top defender on the team within the next thee years. That’s not to say there aren’t weaknesses in his game. We don’t have a problem with his size, because that’s a horribly outdated argument and one that Golden Knights clearly don’t buy into.  (Oh, hi Marchessault, didn’t see you there), What we do have a problem with is his strength. Brannstrom is not scrawny, but rushing him into the league truly be dangerous.  More conditioning training necessary before Brannstrom makes NHL impact. One other note is that his defensive game can sometimes be overly complicated. It’s nothing that Brannstrom can’t overcome but a little simplification could do him some good, especially defending against the rush. Erik is dead-set on at least playing for the Wolves next season in the AHL so he’ll definitely get his strength training there.

If all the pieces come together, Erik Brannstrom WILL be one of the best defenders in the league at some point. His versatile toolbox could make him a nightmare for opponents to counter. He is dangerous in every zone.  Possibly very soon, the youngest ever HV71 player to make their debut in the SHL could become the youngest player ever to wear the Grey and Gold for Vegas. McPhee took two outstanding players with his first two picks and then went looking for a potential franchise-changing defender with his third. In our minds, he found that player in Erik Brannstrom.

 

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