photo courtesy of phantomshockey.com
Birthdate: December 15, 1988
Hometown: Kvissleby, Sweden
Acquired: Signed as free agent (3-31-10)
Erik Gustafsson made the trek to North America after spending his junior aged years in the system of Timra of the Swedish league. He spent his first three 3 years playing college hockey for Northern Michigan University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).
Gustafsson had an impressive debut season for the Wildcats. He finished with 27 assists in 44 games as a rookie. As a result, he was named to the CCHA’s All Rookie team for the 2007-2008 season.
Gustafsson continued to impress in his sophomore season. He finished with the most points for a defenseman in the CCHA with 34. His 30 assists on the year also was also good for first amongst defenseman in the CCHA. He also scored his first four goals of his NCAA season. He was named the Best Offensive Defenseman and also named to the First All Star team by the CCHA for his successful year.
The 2010 season was another successful year for the young defender who was now the Captain of the Northern Michigan University Wildcats. He once again continued to impress with his offensive prowess as he finished with 3 goals and 29 assists in 39 games. He was honored as the Best Offensive Defenseman and named to the First All Star team for the second season in a row by the CCHA. At the end of the season he decided to turn pro and signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on March 31, 2010.
Gustafsson made his professional debut with the Adirondack Phantoms on April 2, 2010. He assisted on two goals in his debut game. He finished with 2 goals and 5 assists in 5 games with the Phantoms that season.
Gustafsson proved to be one of the Flyers most valuable prospects after his first full season with the Phantoms in 2010-2011. His 49 points (5 g, 44 a) was good for second on the Phantoms in scoring. He also lead all rookie defenseman in scoring and finished in the top 10 in scoring for all defenseman. Gustafsson also lead all rookies in assists with 44. The AHL named him to the All Rookie team for his impressive debut.