ekblad capture

Aaron Ekblad remains the most interesting prospect available in this year’s draft. For Oiler fans, the idea of another top 10 pick to address the blueline has wide appeal. Surely if the team picks Ekblad these defensive woes will go away? Not all defensemen are created equal, and there is some evidence that Ekblad’s skill set is unique when compared to the Oilers current stable of blue.

drance ekblad

Aaron Ekblad is a dynamite power-play performer, we discussed that here in January

How unusual is that number? Well, based on last season’s top CHL defensemen, Aaron Ekblad’s source of points puts him in a different area of the offensive spectrum. He may not be Shea Weber or Sheldon Souray, but the young man’s shot seems to get through a lot.



Hmmm. Seth Jones and Josh Morrissey brought an offensive reputation with them to their draft seasons, and of course Ekblad does too. The 16 goals seem to be an extremely large number for a defenseman—Nail Yakupov had 12 in 42 games in his draft season—and especially for a draft eligible.



Ekblad doesn’t score as well here, but I’m not sure how much we can gain in terms of insight. He’s in the range with Nurse, and we might ask if he moves the puck up or passes it based on these numbers. I’ve found defensemen rarely stand out from the crowd 5×5, and this season (in which there are six D with 30 points or more in the NHL) proves the point.

NHL EV points for D. 


  • OHL Prospects:
    “The absolute stud of the draft in my opinion….plays 25 minutes a night
    against all the best players in the league…physically ready right
    now….never gets to high or low…showed at world juniors that when
    paired with, and playing against better players,
    raises his game…will be a 15 year pro on a top pairing at NHL level
    in my opinion.” – Anonymous scout




idiot idiot idiot

It’s very important in life to know your limitations, and not outsmart yourself. Is it better to wait your turn, or jump up in search of glory and run into a brick wall?

I think it may be very difficult for the Buffalo Sabres to pass on Aaron Ekblad. What does Edmonton do about that?

  • Toro

    Trade Yak or whomever to the Islanders for fourth overall. Come out of the draft with what we need. Either Ekblad and a center. Or two elite centers. Draisatl and Bennet would be two improvements to our one dimensional top six. Size and sand paper.

    • oilerjed

      That’s where the dissention comes in. Im not sold on the fact that the Oilers NEED another prospect. It is a nice to have but nothing more. Burning money on high end talent with no mentorship and very little hope of improving other then by magic is wasteful. What we need is a proven 1C that can teach Nuge and Yakimov how to be solid, while also putting up numbers. It will undoubtably cost a ton but that kind of experience is what is needed to get this team over the hump. Even if we pull in a talented player like Eckblad who is going to teach him how to play in the NHL? Petry? Shultz? Both are struggling to keep their heads above water as it stands.
      Its been said many times the best investment in your youth you can make is education. I think its far past time MacT heeded this advice.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I really don’t think it matters this year since the top four rated players are all either defence or centers. Two huge areas of need for Edmonton. Watching Monhahan play it is sad to think we missed out on a second line center with size, skill and grit by one spot.

    But this year, it sounds like we either get another Nuge, another Monahan, or another Nurse. I do not see the downside to drafting any one of those guys. Especially since I don’t believe any of them actually help the club next year. Not one of those prospects should be up playing with the club next year.

  • Zarny

    I find it interesting when people have strong opinions on the scouting of draft prospects but yet have barely followed the player other then listen to MSM opinions or maybe a scout on a radio show. I am not knocking their opinion but making blanket statements on players based on little information and over a short period of time is usually fatal.

    Anyway, I generally follow the top 30-40 ranked players from around 15 years old and up. Watching their growth curve can tell you a lot about the player more then how 1 season point totals fared. You can see their physical and strength development, you can observe their handling of popularity, their composure in pressure moments even when younger and their ability to handle the down moments.

    I have been following and on occasion corresponding with some scouts from all over Canada and a few in Europe and the United States. Not trying to say I have a better read on how much better one player is to another but some of this is simply science and development.

    In saying all this, a great article and post comments. From my perspective Ekblad was not selected for exceptional status for no reason. No one knows if he becomes a elite defencemen but he is trending in a upwards curve and will be a tough player to pass on. I know many were high on Seth Jones and I still think he was good but following his career path it was likely he was going to drop some at the draft floor. Ekblad likely will not. IMO Ekblad will be selected 1 or 2 but most likely 2 since Buffalo is likely to pick #1.

    I am stunned people keep commenting on this site and several other places that Drasaitl is preferred over Reinhart for a center the Oiler are needing. IMO Reinhart is hands down the top player and his game is ready for the NHL now but could be sent back for one more year to mature unless he is lights out at Training Camp. Ekblad is the #2 choice for me but Sam Bennett is not a player I think will be picked Top 5 (I have been wrong before).

    If I was a mind reader , it is likely the Oilers who WILL finish in Top 3 for drafting (4th if someone in top 27 wins draft lottery) and name the following as their priority to select.

    1) Ekblad
    2) Reinhart
    3) Draisaitl

    Those are just some of my thoughts on the whole draft. Lord please let’s pray next year we DO NOT have this discussion again next year at this time.

    • Reg Dunlop

      As soon as I read that you follow kids from 15 years old I had to shut her down. Creepy, like that Lionel Ritchie video where he stalks the blind chick.

      At the draft when picks are over-valued you trade picks for players. At the deadline when players are over-valued, do the opposite. It isn’t really that complicated.

  • pkam

    A team building through the draft, should pick defencemen in the first two years, followed by forwards in later years. As defencemen take longer to develop, the players mature at the same time line.
    The Oil is doing it backwards. For the Oilers to be a contender in the near future the defence can not be built through the draft.

    Trade the first overall pick, and a top three forward for a defenceman under contract.Try to add one more through free agency if possible.

  • pkam

    Assume we end up with the 2nd overall and Panthers with the 3rd overall, and Sabres will draft Reinhart, instead of drafting Ekblad, we have the option of trading that 2nd overall to Panthers for their 3rd overall plus some additional picks and draft Draisaitl.

    Do you think the 2nd overall (Ekblad) will get us the 3rd overall (Draisaitl), and the Panthers’ 2nd and 3rd round picks? Do you think it is a fair trade or a losing trade?

    And how many would trade our 2nd overall to Panthers for their 3rd overall and their 2nd and 3rd round picks?

    • Will

      It’s not a very deep draft like last year; however, considering whoever we pick will still need a few years to develop in order to actually impact the club. The only way I trade the pick is for actual NHL assets. For example, maybe Phoenix needs some cap space for free agency, so we trade them our pick (Ekblad) for Yandle straight up. They are already stocked with proven D talent and Yandle is an overpay playing on the second pairing.

      This gives us a number 2 D man with some term left on his contract that isn’t crazy high, and it gives Phoenix a blue chip defensive prospect that will help the club in a few years with OEL, and gives them space to land a big name free agent, like say Callahan.

      I think a trade like this makes sense for both clubs, But if it’s just for later picks, I’d much rather the Oilers take a legit D prospect that projects to be top pairing, than trade down for lesser picks and hope they work out. Unless our scouting department knows something no one else knows, that would be dumb.

    • Zarny

      No, I don’t expect Florida will trade their 2nd and 3rd round picks to move up one spot because no one this year is worth it. Ekblad isn’t Chris Pronger or Drew Doughty; he’s simply the best D in this draft. You might get their 3rd round pick to swap picks but that’s about it.

      I don’t expect Florida will target Ekblad. They have Campbell, Kulikov and Gudbranson. Huberdeau is playing W. Their top C this year is Bjugstad who was drafted in 2010, didn’t make the NHL for 3 years and only has 35 pts. Barkov is a better prospect but only has 24 pts in his rookie campaign. I expect Tallon to go after Reinhart or Bennett.

      I also wouldn’t take Draisaitl 3rd overall. He’s not big; not by NHL standards. The scouting report indicates his tendency when he gets the puck is to slow down. He doesn’t handle the puck well at high speed. That won’t cut it in the NHL.

      • oilerjed

        I agree that unlike last year, the teams potentially drafting ahead of us will not be looking for the best D in the Draft. They will need help building down the middle in order for the Buffalo rebuild, and the Panthers perennial crawl out of the basement to get on track. No team starts a high profile rebuild by taking D 1st or Second overall.

  • pkam

    So Ekblad’s 60% of his points come from the PP, so yes let’s put him in a team which runs an abysmal PP this year under Eakins and 3 stooges and ruin this guy’s confidence. I hope if they do get this great talent they sure as hell fire their current PP Coaching Staff and get someone who actually uses this kid to his strength as well as Yakupov with his slap shot which was put to waste this year.

  • Great One

    Oiler have a need for both 2nd line center and d-man. You take the best asset available, simple as that. Best asset available should be determined by:

    – hockey IQ
    – work ethic
    – skating ability

    We’ll end up with the right guy. If we need to make room for the asset by trading a guy out we do. If player doesn’t fit in, GM needs to swing a deal. Look what Bruins did with Seguin. Didn’t fit the jigsaw puzzle so they traded for something that does.

    I hope its Reinhart we draft based on position. I can see Shea Weber being available as Nashville is well behind the rebuild in comparison to us. They have no young forwards to build around, so they at least 5 years away from becoming a playoff contender.

    Package one of Yakupov or Eberle for Weber. It will give them a building block and ensure they finish in the bottom of the league for the next couple years. It could mean McDavid for them next year if they pulled a trade like that.

    My 2 cents!

  • Zarny

    Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

    You would think by now, Oilers’ fans would learn the solution isn’t in the draft.

    None of the prospects this year are considered exceptional. None of them are better prospects than Nuge or Yakupov. In a strong draft year none of these prospects make the top 5.

    From the comments you’d think Ekblad was the love child of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer; or that Draisaitl is 6’6″ 250 lbs. They aren’t. Ekblad’s even strength numbers are worse than Nurse’s. Draisaitl is only 6’1″ 208 lbs. That isn’t big. That’s the size of the average NHL forward.

    I’m sure Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett and Draisaitl will all be good NHL players in 4-5 years. Just like Nuge, Yak, Huberdeau, Galchenyuk, Gudbranson, Larsson and a whole bunch of top 3 picks that aren’t named McKinnon, Hall, Tavares, Seguin, Crosby, Stamkos, Doughty and McDavid.

  • nunyour

    The oilers have lots of prospects on defence,but are very thin down the middle.I think they should be looking to improve there center position,ever trading the pick for a veteran center.

  • revingev

    Reg Dunlop

    your right that did sound creepy!…lol

    Those saying Ekblad is not a exceptional and skilled and high hockey IQ player, I would like to hear where your basing that on? Nothing in his career to date shows us this at all, in fact it’s opposite. In fact Reinhart is the same, this player has done nothing but grow and out perform the opposition and that has been as a smaller player in the WHL in a tough to score league on a team that only contends basically because he is on it this year. (The team is ok with some good players but none likely to have a NHL career)

    People will soon be coming back to this draft year and say, wow! those were two elite high end players. My opinion of course…lol

    As far as trading the top draft pick. Oiler fans? You do realize you get a very limited player in term or quality of skill for a draft pick. I see no d-man who is worse sacrificing a #2 OV Draft prospect. Name a player who is possibly available for that pick that is worth trading for?

    Just don’t see any reasonable trade that anyone would make that benefits the Oilers.