In recent days some Oiler fans have expressed that Aaron Ekblad’s offensive numbers are similar or superior to those of Darnell Nurse in his draft year. Is this true?
Last spring, I compared three 2013 draft eligibles and their offense by discipline. I found that Darnell Nurse’s numbers were skewed due to a lack of powerplay time. Nurse at even strength had an impressive draft season.
Nurse’s even strength scoring as a 17-year old were well shy of Seth Jones, but beyond another outstanding puck mover from the 2013 draft, Josh Morrissey.
How does Ekblad compare?
- EV: 34, 3-9-12 .353
- PP: 34, 10-10-20 .588
- PK: 34, 1-0-1 .029
- TOTAL: 34, 14-19-33 .971
At even strength, Nurse and Ekblad are comparable. Nurse has the edge, but this is mid-season and that could change. I think it’s fair to suggest both players will get enough offense from their EV totals to be considered "two way" defensemen—there are no Laddy Smid stay-at-home defensemen in this look at the blue.
Ekblad appears to be an outstanding power-play talent. I don’t know enough about him to say he’s going to be an impact player above the OHL, but at age 17 he’s certainly an impact player in the discipline at the junior level.
BROCK OTTEN, OHL PROSPECTS
Brock Otten is a fine blogger and reports on the OHL via his brilliant OHL Prospects blog. Here, he discusses Ekblad and his season during a mid-year review:
- 1. Aaron Ekblad – Defense – Barrie Colts
Everyone knows about his ability defensively, but it’s certain aspects of his offensive game that have impressed me most this year. In particular, his ability to get his point shot through to the net and his ability to control the point have really improved to the point where I think he has definite powerplay QB potential at the next level to go with his shutdown ability in his own end.
Otten’s observations are reflected in the Ekblad numbers.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
There’s a long way to go this draft season, and Aaron Ekblad has his issues. Skating has been mentioned, and the fact that he appears to be the only man in the group (the other prospects have "projectable size") is also in some reports.
We should probably start talking about Ekblad’s power-play performance in the first half of the OHL season. His numbers on the powerplay for his age are sparkling.