Erik Gustafsson has to be one of the more puzzling Oilers' prospects. He was drafted as an unranked, overage player in 2012 and played 15.14 per game for Djurgården in the Eliteserien. Djurgården was relegated to the Allsvenskan for 2012-13 and Gustafsson's role grew.
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Gustafsson moved up two spots on the list, mostly because the variance in the panel's voting closed a great deal. In February, there were 42 players on the list and he was ranked between 19th and 34th and none of the voters duplicated his ranking. This time around, there are 47 players on the list and Gustafsson's ranking range is spread between 21 and 27.
He was a mid-round pick from 2012, and had a very good season with Djurgården in the Allsvenskan in 2012-13 after playing in the Swedish Elite League (recently renamed the Swedish Hockey League) in 2011-12. The step down in competition led to him getting more ice time than he might have otherwise, and Gustafsson capitalized, scoring 20 points in 42 games and finishing second on the team in shots with 111. He'll move back to the Swedish Hockey League for 2013-14 after signing with Frölunda during the off-season.
Gustafsson is now listed at 6'1" 198 lbs, and at 21 years old, he might put on a few more pounds, but he's likely mostly filled out. He's not big, but but that's not his forte. Gustafsson is all about generating chances. In speaking with one observer of the Allsvenskan, he compared Gustafsson's style to that of Andy Delmore. Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman's take: "...mobile, good puck mover with skill, plays a risky style via pinches and high risk plays, and he's below average on defense." Pronman has him just outside of the Oilers' Top 15 prospects in his annual team-by-team ranking.
Gustafsson's NHL prospects seem slim. Offensive defensemen with little regard for their own end don't make the NHL except during expansion periods, and the Oilers have a number of defensive prospects in the pipeline in front of Gustafsson.
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