ekblad capture

The Edmonton Oilers will get an outstanding prospect at No. 3 overall at this season’s draft. The top three (Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett) would all address major need, and the No. 4 guy is a ‘perfect fit’ big center if you believe the draft services like Red Line Report. What should the Oilers do?

What would it cost to trade up from No. 3 to No. 1? According to the Schuckers draft pick value chart the Oilers could deal No. 3 and No. 91 and it would be considered full value.Draft Chart

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However, the actual cost may be greater—possibly a second round pick in next year’s deep draft, or a promising (but not yet established) prospect like Greg Chase or Marco Roy. In order for the deal to work in Edmonton’s favor, the club would have to be convinced that:

  1. The two best players in the draft are miles better than the third option
  2. Those two players would be selected 1 and 2.

I don’t believe that to be the case, but there are Oiler fans who are convinced Edmonton is going to take a poor option at No. 3 overall. I’m not sure HOW they’re reached the conclusion, but let’s leave that aside for now.

Based on what we know about the three centers, its difficult for me to argue the Oilers are going to move heaven and earth to get their choice of player. In fact, based on what we know, there’s every chance the center they value MOST (reportedly Leon Draisaitl) is the one who will definitely be available when they select No. 3 overall. 

matty draft

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Now, if the Oilers are dealing up, it’s for Ekblad, Draisaitl should be there. If the Oilers are going to trade up for him, I’d imagine the club would be convinced he was absolutely the best talent available, by so much it warrants a sweetener to get them there. Edmonton can’t be happy with the actual idea of selecting first overall, good lord they’ve been there more often than any team in captivity. 



Aaron Ekblad is not Seth Jones’ offensive equal at even strength (in their respective draft seasons). Is he a better player overall at the discipline? Well, until now we only had anecdotal information and scouting words, but there is now GF-GA information available to us for even strength scoring. This allows us to compare players and their on-ice scoring records, while also keeping overall team metrics in mind. Let’s compare Jones and Ekblad and their teams.

  • PORTLAND 2012-13 EVEN STRENGTH GF-GA: 239-126 (+113)
  • BARRIE 2013-14 EVEN STRENGTH GF-GA: 182-148 (+34)

What does that tell us? Well, the Portland Winterhawks were an insane hockey team by anyone’s standards, scoring 113 more goals at even strength than their opponents did against them. Jones’ number is impressive, especially considering he was the go-to guy against the other team’s best opponent.

For Ekblad, it’s a different team story. The Barrie Colts were a good team this year, but not a great one. They scored 34 more goals during the entire season than their opponents, or .5 of a goal per game (68 games a season in the OHL). 

Gus Katsaros of McKeen’s hockey did all the hard work in establishing the database, and has a neat way of posting the numbers. He calls it equal strength goal difference, and it’s a great way to put things on a straight line. Let’s compare each player to his team:

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  • Seth Jones 2.20 (77/35=2.20)
  • Portland: 1.90 (239/126=1.8968)

That means, that despite (likely) playing tougher opponents, Jones actually outperformed his team. Now, we don’t have TOI totals so need to be careful on this, but given the information available we can safely assume Jones was exactly as he appeared—an impact junior on a historically brilliant team.

  • Aaron Ekblad 1.13 (69/61=1.13)
  • Barrie: 1.23 (182/148=1.23)

As you can see, Ekblad performed slightly worse than his team in goals for-against ON at even strength during this past season. It doesn’t mean he’s a poor prospect—hell, he’s clearly an outstanding one—but it does mean that while on the ice at even strength in their draft seasons Seth Jones had more good things happening, despite his team’s insane ability when he was off the ice.

A quick final note about GP. I did not adjust for games missed, and Jones played 61 of Portland’s 72 games (missing 11) while Ekblad played 58 of 68 Barrie games, missing 10. I’ll leave it to the superior math of pretty much everyone around me to figure out an answer to that problem.


pelican cam

This is a new way of looking at things, and honestly will take some time to suss out. It appears to me as though the Oilers would be better off waiting for No. 3 and then taking a center.

  • Sam Bennett was 1.78 on a team that was 1.28 (+.5)
  • Sam Reinhart was 1.47 on a team that was 1.07 (+.4)
  • Leon Draisaitl was 1.11 on a team that was .88 (+.23)

Mr. Katsaros player reporting document is here, and I thank him so much for making it public.

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    • a lg dubl dubl

      Lowetide – What criteria are you using to come up with your rankings ? Here is mine : Criteria one – who can best transition their game to the NHL level . 2. Which ones carry the play – quarterback of the play . 3. Physically most capable of transitioning their skills to the NHL level without much of a downturn , also body build . 4. Skill level , skating both ways ,tenacity and shot 5. Team work and able to contribute more than just scoring . 6. Speed , agility and lateral mobility . 7. Defensively accountable and special teams (more than just one position soundly) . 8. Character .
      My first 3 criteria is why I have Draisaitl and Virtanen as my top 2 choices for forwards from the videos I have seen . They also appear to have the best shots as well . I think Bennett will have the toughest time transitioning his skill set to the NHL level-slight upper body .

    • HockeyYoda

      Oil fans, be careful who’s scouting reports you trust. For example: Kyle Woodlief, was recently interviewed here for his scouting acumen. I stumbled across his 2003 scouting report to see what the scouts were saying about who back then. Woodlief couldn’t have been more wrong in just about everything he said. Andre Kostitsyn was his answer to what 1 player from the 2003 draft he would build his team around. He was also big on Hugh Jessiman. He didn’t understand why central scouting had Dustin Brown as high as he was. My point, if you watch a lot of hockey like me, sometimes you’re better off trusting your own opinion.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      guaranteed the oil will trade that pick.

      It is too much pressure for this management group to draft 3rd when Calgary drafts 4th.
      it’s the fear factor, what if the oil gets it wrong and Calgary gets it right.

      Time to start thinking about where we will actually draft.

    • Zarny

      Imagine if Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett and Draisaitl were drafted in 2008.

      Stamkos played 2 yrs of Jr with 92 and 105 pts. Doughty played 3 yrs of Jr totaling 33, 74 and 50 pts. No one this year even comes close to that kind of talent.

      Zack Bogosian went #3. He had 61 pts his draft year and 33 pt as a 17 y/o. Alex Pietrangelo went #4 with 53 pt his draft year and 52 pt as a 17 y/o. Schenn went 5th and Myers, Teubert, Karlsson, Gardiner, Sbisa, Del Zotto, Cuma and Carlson were all D drafted in the first round.

      Ekblad had 29, 34 and 53 pt in 3 yr of Jr so he would have likely been in the mix 3rd-5th with Bogosian and Pietrangelo ahead of Schenn.

      How much would you pay to trade up for Zack Bogosian whose Jr numbers Ekblad most closely resembles? Ekblad could progress like Pietrangelo but there is no guarantee. Pietrangelo was certainly a much better offense player sooner than Ekblad.

      Trading up could also be problematic due to competition. Tor is rumored to be offering Phaneuf, Kadri and the 8th overall for 1st overall. And I’m sure Tallon has interest in Phi players like Coburn, Couturier and Schenn too.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        In theory then if the player TOR wants is still available at 3 they could offer that package to Edm. If that does get offered I would think Edm would have to jump on it. Drafted players aren’t guarantees, Phaneuf and Kadri are and they fill two positions the team needs.

        • Zarny

          Ekblad slipping to #3 would be the Oilers’ biggest dilemma.

          There is certainly merit to sprinting to the stage to call his name. But Ekblad available at #3 is the most leverage the Oilers would have to trade the pick.

          A package including Phaneuf, Kadri and the 8th overall would be enticing. Phi has players the Oilers could use and the 17th overall pick.

          I think there is also potential for a mega-deal if the 3rd overall is a guarantee of Ekblad plus Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Marincin, Klefbom, Petry etc.

          • pkam

            I am not a big fan of Phaneuf and Kadri, especially the terrible contract of Phaneuf. But if our #3 overall can get both of them and the Leafs #8, even I will do it in a heartbeat.

          • Zarny

            Again, not happening. No way TML even considering that package. It wold be the equivalent of, say Nurse, Eberle and Yak for Ekblad… Give your head a shake. Stupid, won’t happen.

            • Zarny

              The exact rumor is Phaneuf, Kadri and the 8th overall for Ekblad and Jovanovski.

              And your analogy of Eberle, Yakupov and Nurse doesn’t quite hold-up.

              Phaneuf is overpaid by $1.5-2M; Eberle is not. Eberle is also just entering his prime not leaving it. Kadri has had more NHL success than Yak but is a later pick, has also struggled and has a lower ceiling than Yak. With this being a weak draft you also aren’t getting a prospect as good as Nurse at 8th overall either.

              You want stupid? A Florida reporter suggested the Panthers could ask for Eberle + 3rd overall for 1st overall. Now that is stupid.

              I wouldn’t underestimate what MLSE will pay to get a prospect like Ekblad who is from Ontario.

      • Sorensenator

        Your otherwise well-written post goes to pot when you add in the last paragraph TML rumour. Come on, no one would even contemplate that deal for a second.

        • Zarny

          A package with Phaneuf, Kadri and the 8th overall is what Tor is rumored to be offering Florida. I suspect it would be more than #1 overall going back to Tor but that is the rumor.

          The point is simply that Edmonton is hardly the only team eyeballing 1st overall. There will be competition and with teams like Tor and Phi interested Tallon will have some significant packages to consider.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I believe Ekbland and Nurse are comparable. I believe Nurse will be just as good if not better because of his size and the offense he could potentially bring.

      Oilers need Center prospects more than they need defense prospects right now. Moving the pick for an impactful NHL defenseman would be a different story.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      There are two quotes I continually here, concerning the Oilers, and the difference between them and say, Chicago. One is, “We don’t have a Seabrook/Kieth combo” on our team. And two, “#1 defencemen simply aren’t dealt very often, so you’re best to get draft your own”. Well, I’d be willing to bet $100 that a nurse/Ekblad combo, could be even better than Chicago’s.

      We could sign two veteran Dmen to play with them. Boychuck perhaps could be one. I would put Ekblad as a third pairing, and play him only 15 mins a night. Of course, that would mean some changes, and it would begin with Petry for me. And then we can move on to the centerman position…

    • northof51

      What would it take to get #1 draft position from Florida? Would Yaks, Gagner, and a prospect get it done?

      Drafting Aaron Ekblad and LD as our power center would be considered a bold move. As both of these players are considered mature enough to play in the NHL, I say roll the dice…….the alternative being over analysis, is getting boring.

      • Sorensenator

        Makes zero sense to try and get two prospects that have the potential to play in the NHL right away. We have enough young prospects/projects in our system as it is.

        Even if we were to land Ekblad, he plays in Junior for at least another year.

        If we do end up moving Gagner, Yakupov and a prospect, we need to get a #2 centre or a top four pairing D man, I don’t see it happening any other way.

        • Zarny

          When watching the playoffs………every team except the Oilers have a minute crunching defenceman……..Ekblad is supposed to be that kind of player and they are very rare.

          I don’t care if they play in junior for another year……we need these kinds of player and team do not give them up, we need to draft them. UFA’s are an unpredictable goose chase that only seems to benefit the big market teams.

          Time for bold…….in drafting terms!

          • Sorensenator

            It could be five years before Ekblad turns into that minute crushing defenseman. Hall and Eberle will be 28 and 30 years old respectively by that time.

            How long do we continue to play the waiting game?

      • Zarny

        Would you take Yak, Gagner and a prospect over Ekblad? Probably not so why would Tallon?

        Would you take Phaneuf, Kadri and the 8th overall instead? How about Coburn, Schenn and the 17th overall? There will be competition to move up to #1.

        What Florida really lacks are W so Yak might at least interest them. I suspect the first name they ask for though is Eberle. With Bjugstad and Barkov Florida certainly won’t be interested in Gagner as an adder to Yakupov.

        Best case scenario Tallon gives up #1 for Yakupov, Petry + a prospect not named Marincin or Klefbom but I seriously doubt it. Perron + Petry + ? might have potential but in all likelihood it would be a deal involving Eberle.

        Yakupov and Gagner are at all-time lows for trade value. GM’s aren’t going to be interested in both for any significant asset.

    • northof51

      A thought occurred to me about projecting these kids that it would be funny to imagine what my scouting report would have said:

      Under-sized centre, below average skater with abysmal shot. Displays little creativity and lacks a nose for the net. Intense competitor, willing to go to the dirty areas, often to his detriment. Does not like to play with puck and relies on superior line mates. Likely playing at, or near, career potential – future beer leaguer.

    • Zarny

      The more I read or hear of those saying for the Oilers to tank for McDavid the more I get ticked off.

      First, is that even if the Oilers tanked there is a percentage of not getting first over-all and it would be too high a price to get the kid. secondly, it weould mean another friggin year of watching bad hockey nfrom the team I cheer for loyally and I want that to stop period!!!! It’s MORE THAN FINALLY time to move up into the playoffs now and start playing those important spring games for the cup!!!

      Next, is to figure out now of which player Ekblad is gonna be….a Weber tpoye, a Pronger type, a Neidermayer type, or a Johnson type or….a bust like Barker. Fromn his highlight packages, he is a very very good player but not a Wow me type kid so far.

      The Oilers can trade for or buy very good defencemen at their young enough prime time age such as Nikitin, Mezsarov, Orpik, etc,as the young Oiler forward group core is coming into the right age to tackle

      The Oilers can now make up getting that #1/#2 centerman with this year’s draft and to me it is not bad when there are three top kids to mpick from….Bennett, Reinhart, Draisaitl. What’s best is that…unlike Gagner…playing center is their natural learned position.

      All hit the hundred point range and all can compliment RNH big time in the very near future.

      So IMO Ekblad is not Weber, not Pronger, not Neidermayer…and this pick will not lead the Oilers into the promised land. He may help… One of the center kids (Bennett, Reinhart, Draisaitl) will definitely lead with the rest of the core group.

      I am choosing the centre pick for #rd over-all if I was the GM.

    • A-Mc

      God this draft stuff is killing me. I dont want to hurry things along because summer is precious in Alberta, but is it June 27th yet!?!?!!!????

    • Quicksilver ballet

      One might think a team so distant from competing, should hold onto that lotto pick. Continue and build towards a stronger future.

      Plenty of people around willing to trade a potential future driver for some fools gold it appears.

      I guess they’re right when they say there’s a sucker born every minute.

    • This year, there are 3 top type centre prospects and 1 top type defenceman pick in the top 4, plus a top winger in Dal Colle…. and so the Oilers at #3 WILL be getting a great choice regardless. That means one does not stupidly (Oilers) sell the farm to Florida for #1 over-all or to Toronto even (of Ebs, Yak, Gagner, and/or Petry, Marancin, etc), to get one of those four/five kids.

      Phaneuf is getting old and is way to expensive/not a supportive type teammate, Khadri is not yet worth losing out on a high end prospect with better potential/skills.

      At number 3 over-all, the Oilers will get a kid without losing anyone. Then, I would say that the team can start trading off a Gagner, a Yakupov, a Petry etc, for either more picks or players. I would trade Gagner straight up only for Khadri and/or second round prospects.

      There are UFA’s even to deal for without losing any current Oiler’s player. So stop the stupidity!!!

      • pkam

        Are you telling me that it is stupid to trade our 3rd overall for Phaneuf + Kadri + 8th overall?

        Phaneuf is only 29 and you think that he is already getting old? I guess Keith at 30 and Weber at 28 are also getting old too.

        And start trading Petry? Guess he is getting old at 26.

        Guess I am one of those who need to stop the stupidty.

        • Sorensenator

          I would trade Petry in a heart beat if there was a better option coming the other way. Reality is, there isn’t, so we have to make the best with what we got.

          • pkam

            You can say the same about anyone of the Oilers. If I can get a better option coming the other way, I’ll even trade Hall, RNH and Eberle, but how likely?

            So my stupid question is who are we going to get to replace Petry?

            • Sorensenator

              I wouldn’t say that is entirely true, Hall is a top 3 Left wing in the league right now, I don’t trade him for anyone.

              You won’t get anyone better for Jeff Petry, that’s why I was saying we are stuck with him.

              He’s not a terrible player however he makes a lot of dumb mistakes.

            • pkam

              What I say is, like what you said, if I can get a better option coming the other way. The problem is there is no better option coming the other way for Hall, not impossible but very unlikely for Petry.

              All players make stupid mistakes when they have to play over the head. If Petry is playing 4D, he won’t be making so many stupid mistakes.

    • Zarny

      I think the pre-draft hype is similar to 2007. You had 3-4 guys rumoured to possibly go first overall in that draft. Patrick Kane, JVR, Kyle Turris. Patrick Kane is head over shoulders above the other two. And then there’s a few players drafted later that wound up being better than JVR and Turris. PK Subban, Jamie Benn, Logan Couture, Wayne Simmonds.

      I guess the other lesson of that draft is that the Kings survived their 4th overall pick of Thomas Hickey by finding NHL calibre players with their depth picks.

    • TeddyTurnbuckle


      I am not saying the Oilers can’t trade Petry or Gagner or Yak, etc, its that they get a top type defncveman or centre with picking at #3 over-all this year….without selling the farm.

      The stupidity is to try trading up two spots to number 1 over-all by trading playersprospect we could use in other deals…while when the Oil would already have a great choice of one of a centre or defenceman prospect.

      Is Phaneuf the anawer??? especially when he never got Calgary a cup of the Leafs…two teams dumping on him at what…$7 mil per yr? Is Khadri better than say….Grabovski who is a UFA??? At number 8 over-all…would the Oilers get a top future centreman prospect or a top 1/2 defence prospect?

      Do real fans of the Oilers want another tank year with selling the farm out (and therefore teaching who is left on the team that its ok to lose some more) in order to purposely try to get McDavid which whom will be super costly or is the team guaranteed/extremely lucky to win the lottery balls for #1 next year?

      Yes… the Oilers can make several trades but make smart ones, but do not give away the future thats been building here already.. and/or then get top UFA guys…but after picking #3 this year

      • pkam

        I never suggest the Oilers to sell the farm to trade for the #1 overall.

        I’ll trade that #3 overall for Phaneuf + Kadri + #8 overall. Phaneuf is not the answer, but I don’t believe Ekblad is neither. Phaneuf is an average 2/3 D. Ekblad may be slightly better Phaneuf in 4-5 years, but I don’t see him being that #1D. So even if Ekblad is available, I’ll rather take one of the 3 centers.

        Now the question is can Phaneuf get us a big 2nd center. What is the chance to trade him for J. Staal? How about Sean Couturier, I think it is very likely. Am I too optimistic?

        If you don’t like Kadri, ask him to sign an offersheet. I think we can easily get a 3rd or 4th round pick for him, perhaps even a 2nd round pick if we are lucky. All it needs is some team to offer him more than 2.4M.

        So is it stupid to trade the 3rd overall for Sean Couturier, 8th overall and a 2nd/3rd rounder?

        I just don’t think the Leafs are so stupid to trade the 3 pieces for Ekblad.

        • Zarny

          I think it’s misguided to look at trading for a player like Phaneuf with the intentions of flipping him for what you really want. It didn’t work out well for the NYI with Vanek.

          If your goal is Sean Couturier it would be far wiser to simply work out a deal with Phi because they certainly aren’t going to be interested in Phaneuf’s cap hit.

      • Zarny

        I don’t think any of Petry, Gagner or even Yakupov can be described as “the farm”.

        The article frames it perfectly. The only reason the Oilers should look to trade up is if the top 2 players are head and shoulders better than everyone else and won’t fall to #3. Ex Stamkos and Doughty in 2008.

        It’s no on both accounts. Scouting reports indicate no one is considered a generational talent, there is virtually no skill gap in the top 4-5 players and although perhaps not likely Ekblad could fall to #3. Given the rumored competing packages it probably isn’t worth it for Edm to trade up.

        However, if Ekblad falls to #3 the rumored packages could provide Edm with a windfall.

        Is Phaneuf the answer is the wrong question. Nashville didn’t even come close to winning a Cup with both Weber and Suter. One player is never “the answer” or else Crosby and Malkin would have a handful of rings.

        In this draft no one might get a top C or top 1/2 D. There certainly isn’t a significant drop off between 3 and 8.

        Is Kadri better than Grabovski? Well Kadri had 44 pts to Grabo’s 16 pts 2 years ago. Last year Kadri had 50 pts and Grabo’s production pro-rates to 49 pts over 82 games. So yes, Kadri could very well be better than Grabovski next year. Especially when you consider Kadri is just entering his prime and Grabovski is now on the wrong side of 30.

        There is also the reality that Edmonton can not rely on signing top UFA’s. The Oilers are hardly the only team with cap space. Columbus, Dallas and half the league have over $20 million in cap space to spend. Tallon in Florida has repeatedly said he’s going after 5-6 UFA’s including Iginla if he hits the market. There will be competition for any decent player.

        And if your concern is avoiding another tank trading the #3 pick for proven NHL players is the best course of action not drafting another 18 y/o who won’t make significant contributions for 3-5 years.

    • Sorensenator


      The other thing I forgot to say was that Phaneuf Khadri and the #8 over-all for the #3 pick over-all does get us three for one technically but it would cost the Oilers $10 mil per yr on salaries for Phaneuf (a player of questionable teammate issues) who is turning 30 yrs old as well, and Khadri who hasnt nailed down the TML second line centre position completely…like Gagner, plus a #8 which very likely turns into a 3rd to 4th line forward or 3rd pairing dfenceman to 6/7 defebceman.

      Too many ???? for this deal possibility. I would definitely rather go for UFA’s like Grabovski, Stastny and Khulemin for exmaple at $10 mill per yr total cost on any 2 of these type players plus get one of Ekblad, Bennett, Reinhart, Draisaitl, than do a Phaneuf, Khadri, #8 over-all for just the 3rd over-all.

    • Zarny


      Aaaaah now I see where you’re going with this and yeah, its not the worst situation either. I dunno…its such a crapshoot to figure out. But flipping Phaneuf is do-able, Khadri could bring in something or be a stop gap too.

    • TeddyTurnbuckle

      Just throwing this trade suggestion out there what about the#3 pick overall , Yakupov, and Gagne to buffalo for Tyler Myers, Stewart, and Grigorenko. I think could work for both teams.

    • TeddyTurnbuckle

      For every shiny new draft pick we get, two players slip out the back door and leave after disappointing seasons. 5 years into the rebuild and we have 6 core players and one of them plays in junior. Now we are giving away draft picks like candy to prop up poor draft choices from previous years. The oilers are stuck in a bad cycle and are cursed to only add one young prospect a year.

      • pkam

        Normally, players drafted in 2nd or later rounds have little chance of making the NHL. Even if they make the NHL, it usually takes them 2 years in the juniors and 2-3 years in the minors. So it is not unusual that our later draft picks of 2010 are still developing in the minors in the 4th year. And the fact is Marincin seems to graduate into the NHL in less than 4 years and Pitlick is very closed even he has been delayed by continuous injuries.

        And Brandon Davidson, as a 6th rounder, is still developing in minors and hasn’t been ruled out. And we don’t know how Kristians Pelss, a 7th rounder, will do if he was killed in an accident.

        And for the 2011 draft class, most of them have only played their first year of minors. Yet Klefbom is almost ready, and Nelson said Musil may see some NHL games this year.

        So I am not sure what you are talking about. Do you have any fact to support your comment?