GLAD FOR EKBLAD

Lowetide
January 23 2014 07:11PM

If the Edmonton Oilers don't trade their first round pick in 2014, there's a very good chance they'll select Aaron Ekblad. The Buffalo Sabres are loaded with young defensemen and are likely to take a forward, and Edmonton looks like a good bet to finish 29th or 30th overall. Unless another team wins the lottery, the Oilers are going to have a chance at the big man.

IS IT WISE TO SELECT A DEFENSEMEN EARLY?

No. ON has discussed this many times, Jason Gregor pointed out the facts here. The prevailing wisdom is correct, as pointed out by Jason:

  • In the past 25 years, only five times has the first D-man drafted turned out to be the best in his class:  #3 Scott Niedermayer in 1991, #1 Roman Hamrlik in 1992, #2 Chris Pronger in 1993, #1 Ed Jovanovski 1994 and Johnson in 2006. Since 1994, it has only happened once, so it is clear that it is become harder to project who will become the best defender out of an entire draft class.

I agree 100 times out of 100. If there's a forward available who is better than the top defenseman, it makes that rule easy. Draft Nail, pass on Murray. Adam Larsson looks good? Take Nuge! However, what if there's no clear choice among the remaining forwards, and in fact the #1 overall prospect is a defenseman?

That's where we are headed.

MCKENZIE'S BIBLE 

Bob McKenzie's mid-season rankings are out today, and Aaron Ekblad ranks #1 overall, ahead of a plethora of forwards. The list is here. The tsn link also gives insight into each player, including the defenseman.

  • Craig Button: When you build a team, you need a solid foundation. Aaron is a pillar defenceman who can play 25 minutes or more and do so in all important situations. His on-ice maturity is exceptional.

He's a righty, and could form an insane tandem with Darnell Nurse a few years down the road. Added to the fact Edmonton has so many skill forwards they have little or no room to add another, is Ekblad the choice?

POWER FORWARDS?

There are some interesting options, but Leon Draisaitl is falling down the list and the other OHL kids of note (Ritchie, Perlini, Dal Colle) have not emerged as clear lottery selections. The season still has some track to run, and the Oilers must be hoping for someone to pull out and pass the rest.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I'm no scout, and absolutely subscribe to the idea that teams should take a forward early and save the drafting of blue until later. One problem: no one is emerging.

We wait.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#101 voom04
January 24 2014, 06:51PM
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The team that gets the best player wins the trade, no thanks to Mike Green(d) from caps, unless its for a prospect.

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#102 brian hitchinson
January 24 2014, 09:52PM
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The Oilers, again will "fight" for last place. It doesn't seem to matter, because the scouts have done a piss poor job in selecting their previous picks. I will guarentee, a small, "talented" forward, that will do nothing again. If these scouts were any good, they would have got rid of Kevin Lowe, because he has done more damage to these teams over the last 8 yrs. Unitl the owner, finally has had enough with him, this teams will struggle for yrs to come!!

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#103 Pouzar99
January 25 2014, 12:34AM
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Don't be silly, Brian, if Ekblad is available when the Oiler first pick comes around they will take him. Book it. If he isn't available, they will likely trade the pick or grab the biggest, meanist and most talented forward available. Given that Buffalo has talent on the blue line, and is only a little below average defensively, but dead last by a huge margin Offensively, they may well go for the best forward. If any other team picks ahead of the Oilers they will take Ekblad, as he is quite obviously the best choice in the draft, based on what we know.

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#104 Brian
January 25 2014, 08:36AM
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"They", the experts , say building a team from goaltending, defense, Center is the way to go. If Ekblad is available, take him . If not, parlay the pick into proven Tender, D-man, Center.

Or do what Daryl and Harrison want. It's their toy after all.

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#105 johny ringo
January 25 2014, 09:05AM
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Ekblad will probably pull a Lindros and tell Oilers not to draft him. Even though I am an Oilers fan I would not blame him. The final legacy of LOWE.

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