Erik moves to Dundee after spending last season with local rivals, Fife Flyers and in his debut Elite League season, he contributed 14 points (3G, 11A) whilst manning the Kirkcaldy club’s blueline.
The 28-year-old, right-shot d-man, moved to the Elite League after spending the previous nine years playing in the HockeyEttan league and across 381 appearances in the Swedish third tier, Näslund recorded 165 points (47G, 118A).
Born in Umeå, Sweden, the defender came through the Ostersunds IK and Timra IK youth setups and progressed through the U18’s and U20 junior leagues, before making his senior debut in the 2011-2012 Division 1 campaign with Ostersunds.
Since then, the 6-foot-1-inch-tall defender iced with seven teams in the HockeyEttan and has also qualified for the playoffs 11 times during his 15-year career.
After adding the former Flyers defenseman, Stars GM and Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “I am delighted to have Erik join us, he is a right-shot defender and he also has experience in the league, which is really important.
“I have found when players know the league and know what to expect, especially against certain teams and how they play and some of the unique elements of this league, it is always a huge benefit.
“Having seen him play in the league last year, I liked his game and I thought he played a pretty gritty style game.
“I then spoke to some of his former teammates that I know and I got great feedback on his work ethic, how he is a person and as a teammate, so I thought he would fit perfectly with our group and what we are trying to do.
“I am looking for him to be a solid player all around for us and he certainly does have the skills to contribute a bit more offensively, given the right situation.
“Although, he is a good-sized defenseman, with great mobility and with the right partnership, he should be a very solid player for us.”
Adding another player who not only knows the Elite League but the importance of the local derbies, was another positive for Mason.
He added: “That certainly also goes into someone with experience in the league, as he knows how passionate the fans are in Dundee and how it feels being on the other side of the rivalry.
“Adding someone who knows what to expect will be important for us as we have a number of guys who are new to the league and also few other Swedes that he can certainly help and bond with.
“So, Erik can definitely help those guys in their adjustment to this league.”
Once he had confirmed his switch across the River Tay, Erik then added: “It feels good to join the Stars and I am very excited for this upcoming season.
“I cannot wait for the season to start, it is only a few weeks away and I am very excited to fly over to Scotland again and join Dundee this time.
“I really liked my time in the UK, Scotland and the Elite League, so I really wanted to come back and play in the Elite League again.”
The Swedish blueliner then discussed what Mason said to convince him to swap Fife for Dundee and how it felt to play in those intense derbies last season.
Erik said: “I liked the way he looked at me as a player and his plan for the season, he seemed very professional, organised and the communication we had from the start has been great, so it all felt perfect from the first time I spoke to him.
“The derbies were a super cool experience and I remember the first preseason game we had (against Dundee) and the place was packed during the warm-up.
“I did not expect that and it was something I had never experienced before and it definitely got you excited for the game, so all the derbies were fun to play in.”
Näslund then shared what he hopes to bring to the Stars team this year and how he wants to put his past experiences to use.
He said: “I am more of a two-way defenseman, but I want to try and contribute more offensively and help the team out that way, but still being a guy you can trust at the backend.
“Having one year in the league, means I have that experience in the league, so I want to help out the guys who are new to the league and there are a few Swedes on the team this year that I can maybe help them and explain how things are, like going to play in Manchester.”
Finally, Erik shared a quick message for all the Stars fans ahead of the quickly approaching, new season.
He said: “I am super excited to join the Stars and I cannot wait to play in front of you guys and I will see you in a couple of weeks.”
In his career so far, Erik has featured in 493 matches, scored 49 goals, assisted 133 times, and has collected 505 penalty minutes, whilst also making 57 playoff appearances and collecting 36 points (9G, 27A) and 66 penalty minutes.
Erik is our 18th signing of the summer and joins Drydn Dow, Craig Garrigan, Philippe Sanche, Chris Gerrie, Brython Preece, Mac Howlett, Toms Rutkis, Kris Inglis, Carter Folk, Elijiah Barriga, Ryan Verrier, Fabrizio Ricci, Devon Daniels, Ben Sokay, Anton Svensson, Hugo Reinhardt and Romans Semjonovs on the roster for next season.
You can get your season tickets to watch these 18 players and the rest of the team in the 2022-2023 campaign by contacting: [email protected]
Näslund will wear the #5 Stars jersey next season.
To view Erik’s career stats on Elite Prospects click HERE.
Banner image: Flyers Images.
Featured image: Flyers Images.