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Born March 11, 1976 (1976-03-11) (age 34),
Stockholm, SWE
Height
Weight
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Left
KHL team
F. teams
SKA St Petersburg
SEL
Djurgårdens IF
SM-l
Espoo Blues
NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins
Tampa Bay Lightning
San Jose Sharks
RSL
Khimik Moscow Oblast
Ntl. team  Sweden
NHL Draft 107th overall, 1994
Calgary Flames
Playing career 1996 – present

Nils Ekman (born March 11, 1976 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish professional ice hockey right winger currently playing for SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Contents

Playing career

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Junior career

Ekman spent his formative years playing in his native Sweden. In season 1993–94, after scoring four goals and five assists in eleven games for Hammarby IF in the Swedish junior league, Ekman was called up to the parent team in the Swedish tier 2-league HockeyAllsvenskan, where he scored nine points in 18 games. Catching the eye of the Calgary Flames, he was drafted by the team in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft in the 5th round as the 107th pick overall. In the 1994–95 season, after a short two-game stint in the Swedish junior league, he totalled 10 goals and 7 assists in 29 games for the parent club. After another year in Hammarby, where he scored 9 goals and totalled 7 assists in 26 games, he went to play in Finland.

Finnish career

Ekman played a large part of his early years in Finland. In season 1996–97, he played with Kiekko-Espoo of the SM-liiga, scoring 24 goals and adding 19 assists in 50 games. He also added two goals in four playoff games. The next year, his totals declined, as he notched 14 goals with 14 assists in 42 games, causing many to believe he was another European-drafted bust. However, Ekman had a strong playoffs with two goals and two assists in seven games.

Following his team's elimination from the playoffs, Ekman signed a contract with Calgary, who were impressed at his development, and Ekman joined the Saint John Flames in the American Hockey League (AHL). However, he did not play in any games and returned to Kiekko-Espoo for the 1998–99 season, notching 34 points in 52 games. He would not return to play in Europe for three years as he left for North America.

NHL career

Having no room for him, on November 20, 1999, Calgary traded Ekman to the Tampa Bay Lightning along with a 4th round selection (Vladimir Gorbunov) in the 2000 Entry Draft for Andreas Johansson. He made his debut with the Lightning that season, but scored only 4 points in 28 games. To gain more experience, he joined the IHL and split the 1999–00 season with the Detroit Vipers and the Long Beach Ice Dogs, notching 32 points in 37 games and earning rookie of the year honors. He also had 6 points in 5 playoff games for Long Beach. During the 2000–01 season, after 36 points in 33 games for Detroit, he was recalled to the NHL, where he improved on his earlier showing and scored 20 points in 43 games. However, he had a very low plus/minus rating of -15.

In the summer of 2001 he was traded to the New York Rangers, but after failing to get a place on the squad he moved back to Sweden and played with Djurgårdens IF in Swedish elite league Elitserien for a season and scored 31 points in 38 games while playing a strong two-way game. Determined to make the NHL, in the 2002–03 NHL season he came back to North America and played with the Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL. Showing how far he had developed, Ekman put up 30 goals and 36 assists in 57 games. However, he was unable to crack the New York lineup because the team preferred to give veterans playing time over youngsters.

On August 12, 2003, Ekman was traded to the San Jose Sharks for Chad Wiseman. A team that had completely flopped the previous season, the Sharks were willing to give the untested Ekman a chance. For the 2003–04 NHL season he posted a career high in goals (22) and had 33 assists, as well as a franchise-record plus 35 rating, negating all doubts about defensive struggles. Still, he had only 3 assists in 16 games for San Jose in the playoffs.

NHL lockout

During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Ekman proved that 2004 was no fluke with 18 goals and 27 assists in 44 games for Djurgården. This was the highest total on the team, and fifth-highest in the league (eighth-highest in goals) that had players like Peter Forsberg and Henrik Zetterberg.

Post-lockout

Ekman started the 2005–06 NHL season rather slowly coming back from the lockout. In fact in his first 29 games he only scored seven points. However, he started to click on a line with Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo, and he responded by scoring 29 points in his next 23 games, including a four-game span when he had three four-point games. Currently, he has set a new career high for assists and points with 36 and 57 respectively, along with 21 goals in 76 games.

On July 20, 2006, Ekman was traded along with goaltending prospect Patrick Ehelechner to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a 2007 second-round draft-pick. Later in the same year, November 8, he scored a natural hat trick in four minutes and ten seconds in the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning, setting a Penguins franchise record.

Ekman dislocated his left elbow in a home game win (4-1) against Toronto Maple Leafs on December 29 2006.[1] He was forced to sit out for three months before he could return to the ice and made his comeback against the Ottawa Senators on March 6 and had four penalty minutes and -1, logging nearly 8 minutes of ice time.[2]

For season 2007–08, Ekman moved to Russia for play with Khimik Moscow Oblast in the Russian Super League. Next season, he signed with SKA Saint Petersburg in the newly formed Kontinental Hockey League.

Awards

Career statistics

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1993–94 Hammarby IF Swe-2 18 7 2 9 4 2 0 0 0 2
1994–95 Hammarby IF Swe-2 32 10 8 18 18
1995–96 Hammarby IF Swe-2 26 9 7 16 53 1 0 0 0 0
1996–97 Espoo Blues SM-l 50 24 19 43 60 4 2 0 2 4
1997–98 Espoo Blues SM-l 43 14 14 28 86 7 2 2 4 27
1997–98 Saint John Flames AHL 1 0 0 0 2
1998–99 Espoo Blues SM-l 52 20 14 34 96 3 1 1 2 6
1999–00 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 28 2 2 4 36
1999–00 Long Beach Ice Dogs IHL 27 11 12 23 26 5 3 3 6 2
1999–00 Detroit Vipers IHL 10 7 2 9 8
2000–01 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 43 9 11 20 40
2000–01 Detroit Vipers IHL 33 22 14 36 63
2001–02 Djurgårdens IF SEL 38 16 15 31 57 4 1 0 1 32
2002–03 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 57 30 36 66 73 2 0 2 2 4
2003–04 San Jose Sharks NHL 82 22 33 55 34 16 0 3 3 8
2004–05 Djurgårdens IF SEL 44 18 27 45 106 12 4 5 9 20
2005–06 San Jose Sharks NHL 77 21 36 57 54 11 2 2 4 8
2006–07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 34 6 9 15 24 1 0 0 0 0
2007–08 Khimik Moscow Oblast RSL 57 22 21 43 87 4 0 1 1 0
2008–09 SKA St. Petersburg KHL 46 12 20 32 50
SM-liiga totals 145 58 47 105 242 14 5 3 8 37
SEL totals 82 34 42 76 163 16 5 5 10 52
IHL totals 70 40 28 68 97 5 3 3 6 2
AHL totals 57 30 36 66 73 3 0 2 2 6
NHL totals 264 60 91 151 188 28 2 5 7 16

References


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