Looking at Nikolaj Ehlers’ Impressive Sophomore Season So Far

Nikolaj Ehlers has been one of the hottest Jets all season and he has now scored in four straight games after having 6- and 15-game goalless droughts early in the season. He now has 36 points on the year and leads the team in assists with 22. Let’s dive in and see just how good Trikky Nikky has been for this team.

After being drafted 9th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2014 Entry Draft, Nikolaj Ehlers was sent back to the QMJHL for another year of growth. He finished his junior career with the Halifax Mooseheads, tallying 205 points 86G and 119A) in 114 games. In his rookie season in the NHL last year, the dynamic Dane registered 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points in 72 games. After his game-opening goal against Buffalo yesterday, he is one goal and one assist shy of last year’s totals in only 42 game so far this season. And it almost feels like he’s just getting started. 

Prior to heating up, Ehlers was having a really hard time finding the back of the net, but it was definitely not from a lack of opportunity. It seemed like almost every night he was in alone on the goaltender multiple times and/or was ringing shots off the iron every time you turned around. In fact, NHL.com currently credits #27 with 1 crossbar hit and 6 posts, which would put him in second place in the league. Head over to Twitter and search ‘Ehlers snake’ to see just how ridiculous it was for awhile. 

It seems like that monkey is now off his back, though, and the soon-to-be-21-year-old is tickling the twine with regularity. He’s also still dishing out assists at a fairly high clip as well. Of players with at least ten games played this season, Puckalytics.com lists Ehlers in fourth place overall for 5v5 A/60 (and in 12th place for 5v5 P/60). Perhaps the most promising thing we’ve seen from this slick skating speedster is the chemistry he’s developing with another budding superstar, Patrick Laine. These two, currently centered by Mark Scheifele, have made some stellar plays this season and it just seems to keep coming. Yesterday afternoon, Laine had the whole rink thinking he was shooting on that two-on-one and it slipped it over to Ehlers who put it in the wide-open net. 

And who can forget this one, from early in the year against the Leafs?

This season has been rocky for the Winnipeg Jets and the fans have been riding a roller-coaster of high-highs and low-lows. Yesterday’s soul-crushing third period collapse feels like another one of those lows, and a big part of it was that monster hit that left our 18-year-old phenom dazed and confused. While absolutely nothing good can come out of seeing a guy laying on the ice like that, it was kind of heartwarming to see that it was Nikolaj Ehlers who helped him up and escorted him back to the bench for attention. 

These two have only played half a season together so far, but they are clicking better than we ever could have imagined. They seem to have a lot in common, too: they’re both young Europeans living in Winnipeg, they love playing PlayStation, and they’ve both scored game-winners into their own net. Too soon? Sorry. But around here, we’ll take the bad with the good as we know this Dynamic Duo will be producing long into the future.