ekblad capture

It’s draft week, and that means up is down, left is right and right is wrong, and you better decide which side you’re on. Rumors about William Nylander or Nick Ritchie drawing into the top five, about Vancouver and Winnipeg and Toronto trading up—it’s madness!

Into this Poe spring I’d like to throw out some verse about the Edmonton Oilers. Let’s roll.


My scenario begins with the Sam’s going 1-2. It doesn’t matter the order for our purposes, but let’s assume it’s Reinhart and then Bennett. Edmonton, drafting third would have their pick of giants:

  • Aaron Ekblad, the man caught in a body the approximate age of One Direction.
  • Leon Draisaitl, whose nickname appears to be Dangler, but he’s making it work.

In that scenario, which player do you take? I’m leaning toward the dangler, but Ekblad could be a 15-year defenseman playing 20+ minutes a night and keeping the opponents honest and popping 10 a year on the power play. Sheldon Souray, but more mobile. That has value.

For the sake of this morning, let’s say Edmonton takes Ekblad, and then Calgary—still a little zonked from the flight in to Philly—decide they’re smarter than everyone and takes Nick Ritchie.

You KNOW Garth Snow wants to make a deal. You KNOW he wants a winger for his team because that pick he gave to Buffalo can’t be No. 1-5.

Question: do you trade what it takes to get No. 5 and take the German?


I imagine you’d have to give a combination of assets, central being an NHL winger of note. Whether that’s Perron or Yakupov (oh stop, we’re just talking here) or even Samwise Gagner is open to question. The Oilers have some other things:

  • Young defensemen
  • Next year’s first-round selection


Totally get that line of thinking. Why in hell would you do this?

Because the Oilers are weak sauce up the middle and could solve it (or really help) in one day. It has a certain appeal. Also, the new GM would be putting his stamp on the team in a major way. Don’t discount that, it’s kind of an important detail. 

dog skipp


This is the week you can skip from rumor to rumor, but this isn’t one. We’re just blue-skying on a bright sunny day.

What does making this deal mean? You know what it means? It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison! Sorry wrong speech. It means two things:

  • the cluster’s age is moved back once again
  • the Oilers are finally future strong up the middle. 

Pick your poison.

  • YakCity1039

    I want Ekblad, but the thought of having a RNH – Draisaitl – Yakimov 1-2-3 punch down the middle is SOOOOOO tempting. Make a trade with the Islanders for that 5th pick and get BOTH Ekblad and Draisaitl!!

  • RomZ

    honest question – next year if Mr. Draisaitl has a less than impressive first year (should he make the team, but based on history – yes)do we consider him an option for trading up or down the following draft?

    i like Yak. in hindsight i *think i like Murray better. Yak still has tremendous upside and is worth more than another pick imo. ride him out.

    Ekblad or bust. or not. or maybe. i don’t know.

    *thinking is not my strong suit.

  • Spydyr

    Remember the draft where they grabbed Taylor Hall? Remember Fowler sitting there nearly in tears as his name wasn’t called out 3rd, 4th, 10th… until Anaheim finally took him (17th I think but I’m not that sure). That’s the year that the Oilers should have made a trade to add a top ten pick (they’re still waiting to see if they really got something for the first pick in the 2nd round or not). This year this team needs steadier defence than an 18 – 19 yr old kid is going to give them. I know Oilers brass has made an art of ‘playing the long game’, but no matter how good Ekblad will be in 5 years, I would rather see the Oilers concentrate on adding players that will help before the new arena’s built.

  • Lowetide

    The chances of the flames passing up Draisitl is zero to none. Remember, feaster is no longer there.

    And the idea of taking Ekblad makes me cry. I can’t take anymore of the “patience” speeches we’d get waiting for him. My god, were ready running out of patienc with yak. What would it be like with a defenceman??

    • Spydyr

      Yeah ,waiting those few years for Pietrangelo to become one of the top defencman in the NHL must have be awful for St.Louis.

      Th Oilers are not going to challenge next year.Instead of quick fixes wait and build a contender.If things all fall into place it still may happen.After this much suffering it would be a shame to waste it on bad moves trying to speed things up.

      • YakCity1039

        Not only do defenceman take longer, but they’re also a higher percentage of busts. It’s not worth it in my mind. The chances of him becoming pietrangelo are less likely then him becoming barker

  • Bob Cobb

    You’re taking Draisitl over Ekblad if it comes to that? What time is it where you live because 10:53 is too early to be hitting the bottle that hard.

    All the talk has been about how the Oilers need D-Men, high end D-Men, that you can’t trade for, and you take a forward. I would take Ekblad, let him develop and wait for a top 4 of Ekblad, Nurse, Marincin and Klefbom, toss in Petry and J Schultz and you have a pretty good back end.

    You win from building from the goalie out, find a centre in FA this year and go from there, no matter how much you like his nickname.

    At the very least you don’t let Calgary get there hands on a possible Norris trophy winning D-man down the road.

    • oilerjed

      The problem with this scenario is that what if Nurse/Ekblad/Klefbom/Maricin dont ever end up being better the what we have now. Nothing is gauranteed when it comes to developing prospects. So what do we do in 3-4 years when we realize that these are the Dmen of our future like we thought. Start over??
      And basing any decisions on what Calgary will get is completely out to lunch. They are getting a good player too no matter what. Why do we care who it is?

      • Numenius

        Isn’t it funny that our third overall pick could probably get us an established 1st pairing dman like phaneuf, and Ekblad might never even turn out to be as good as him.

        • Spydyr

          Phaneuf is 29 on a bloated contract and if he is so awesome why would Toronto want to trade him? It is not like Toronto’s defence is that good.Calgary also got rid of him for whatever reason.

          I would take Ekblad over Phaneuf all day long.

    • Lowetide

      Or because the 2 players are so close you draft for need knowing that you have Marincin, Nurse, Schultz, Klefbom, Petry with Simpson, and co. coming up from behind. Having no Cs and facing a steady diet of Monahan and Draisaitl for the next 10 years is also unappealing.

  • I posed this scenario and asked this very question on your blog yesterday. I would definitely offer up a good piece to make that happen. I kind of wonder how hard it would be to pry pick 2 out of Buffalo vs 5 out of NYI. Pick 5 should be easier, but I’m not sure. I’d move a player like yakupov to make this work. I’m not sure what the ask from either team would be though.

    • RomZ

      I agree with you that the real target should be Buffalo, if Ekblad does not go first. Buffalo already has two first round selections for 2015 so offer them straight up our first in 2015 for their first ( second over all ) this year and then take the right shooting defenceman and the centre, and don’t look back.

  • RomZ

    The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to draft a center. As nice as it would be to have a future pairing of Nurse/Ekblad, it would be just as enticing if not better to have a One-Two punch of Nuge and Draisaitl down the middle.

    We Don’t have any impact forward prospects in the pipeline, and we have many D prospects on the bubble. Draisaitl fits the bill of organizational need while simultaneously fulfilling the best player available to us at the #3 spot.

    • Spoils

      I say we need both to win the cup. The #1D and the big #2C.

      draft the D this year because it takes longer

      what about trading to acquire #2C – get someone proven maybe a slightly older – a – #2C from a team that won in the past but wants to rebuild – maybe a Krejci type guy. give up next years best pick + a good asset that doesn’t fit our team (gags if he can have a bounce back year).

      Get that last intangible leadership piece right as we are ready to make the run.

      • RomZ

        At the end of the day. I am in favor of doing whatever it takes to see this team improve sooner rather than later.

        In my mind Hall and Nuge are the only untouchables; everyone else is fair game.

    • I think as Oilers fans, we’re all used to at least getting a shiny new toy as reward for being good little paying fans all year. I remember being bummed we missed out on Monahan by one pick as he was great last year. But then, you realize he only got 35 points and really wasn’t that effective. Nurse filled a far larger need for the team.

      To fans, then, not getting Ekblad means we might be getting a player that shouldn’t make the jump to the NHL right away. Ekblad, being too young to go to the AHL would either have to stay in junior, or make the jump to the NHL.

        • Oh for sure, I wasn’t including you in that, just Oiler fans in general, myself included. Just explaining why all this seemingly outcry to try and get Ekblad at the draft, even though at number 3 this might be the first can’t miss draft for the Oilers.

          In past years there has always been controversy on who to take, and endless debates on if they took the right guy, or unimaginable scenarios where if we could have only done x or y to trade for pick a or b, yadda yadda.

          But God forbid the Oilers go 2 years in a row of drafting the exact type of player they need, only problem is they will take a year or two to develop, you know, like how the draft works for the rest of the NHL.

          I truly hope they draft the big German, let him develop for two years. I know the rest of the league knocks Edmonton for stockpiling high end draft picks. But with just a slight amount of patience and development, in two years time the team will have one of the biggest, most talented, deepest D core in the league, matched by a group of three forwards who by then might become one of the best top lines, flanked by an endless number of potential top flight prospects like Chase, Yakimov, Draisaitl. Not to mention the established talent like Perron, Gagner, and Yak.

          But rushing these kids is only going to sink their careers before they even begin.

          • RomZ


            Unfortunately patience is in short order in a city like this. We have too many glaring holes to fix in one season. I think Mac T would be best off trying to collect key pieces over several off seaons just like Lombardi did with the Kings. The playoffs are a pipedream for the current roster.

            I think the team can realistically make a 10-15 point improvement, just based off a solid tandem of Scrivens, and Fasth.

          • Yeah, in the lockout with Kruger, the Oilers finished poor, but at least it wasn’t 29th or 30th. It looked like they were at least making strides in the right direction. They could beat any team on any given night that year, even the big ones like the Kings. But then Dubnyk just sunk the world this year. I went to a lot of games in that first month and remember seeing the shot clock was more even, the even strength goals were way better, Ryan Whitney wasn’t on the team, our face off wins were better. It just seemed like all the underlying numbers were there. The team would lose by one goal on a score of 6 to 5. Game after game I felt so bad for the forwards as they must have been thinking what more can we possibly do to win, at some point our goalie has to stop a puck.

            Some of that falls on Eakins, and lots falls on Dubnyk. So, with a better Tandem, and a better coaching staff, hopefully the team can get its powerplay back on track and enjoy some decent goal tending.

            I am not getting my hopes up, as that ship sailed years ago, but I wouldn’t be surprised if like Colorado, the Oilers were suddenly good. And all the pundits rushed to try and figure out why. And then they say, oh, wait they have the best LW in the entire league on their team, and hey look at all these other guys.

            Goal tending and power play. Those two things could put this team right back in it.

          • RomZ

            We seem to be on the same wavelength. These next 3 weeks will be intriguing to say the least. I am very curious to see what transpires, but like you and countless other oiler fans I don’t have high hopes.

            Sometimes being an oiler fan feels like a form of self torture lol.

        • Spydyr

          I am a proponent of letting players earn their jobs in camp.Instead of preordaining your team.If any player shows well in camp give him his 9 games or less.If he is not shooting the lights out after that and I mean doing very,very well send him back for more seasoning.

    • Spydyr

      Bob McKenzie has Ekblad ranked number one so if he was available at three he would be the BPA.

      The Oilers do however have a very bad habit of thinking they are the smartest people in the room.So who knows.

      • RomZ

        You are correct. I just don’t see Ekblad falling to us, but stranger things have happened. Jones, Larsson, and Cam Fowler all dropped in their respective years. It would be a good problem to have. I personally would still lean towards are center.

        Luckily for us, Calgary for the longest time also have this ‘smarter than everyone else’ mentality. Seems those days are now all but over under the Burke regime.

    • A-Mc

      I tend to agree with this. up until recently i was always: Ekblad FOR SURE if he’s available..

      But a Centerman would quite likely help the team almost immediately (even if rushing isn’t the best plan of action).

      • RomZ

        I am with you I was on the Ekblad bandwagon at first. I just hope if they do take one of the centers that they will get sent back down to junior, even if that means we have to suffer through another horrendous season. It is time we stop rushing our draft picks into front line duty.

  • A-Mc

    I’ve entertained the idea of getting both Ekblad and Draisaitl, but the player going out is not perron. In my mind it has to be Yak or Gagner, but that is likely because these 2 guys had terrible seasons last year.

    Also, if i’m moving anyone, i better be 100% certain i’m getting the 2 guys i want. If its only for a chance that Draisaitl drops to #5, then i don’t touch this.

    At this point i think it’s more likely that Ekblad and Draisaitl go #1/2 overall and then we’re left with neither one.

  • ralph_u

    Sure, the oilers could trade for futures every year. Clearly the idea of ‘future potential’ is much more valuable in oiler land than the idea of ‘winning a cup’


      I don’t understand why people think we need to sacrifice the future to improve the present, or vice versa.

      I’m pretty sure you can try to be as successful as you can in the draft, while also pursuing players that can impact the present team.

      You don’t have to throw all of your eggs in one basket.

      • paul wodehouse

        Of course. What I am saying is that when the sting of a ten game losing streak is at maximum effect, everybody jumps on the bandwagon of ‘we need NHL players NOW!’. Then when the season is over, it slowly turns back to ‘Look at all the awesome players we can draft, let’s do that instead!’.
        The oilers are a team that have thrown all of their eggs in one basket, by drafting essentially the same player for the last 5 years. So why would we trade players we were actually successful in acquiring to get players with uncertain futures? It’s not like this is an unbelievable draft class where teams will be falling over themselves to get a spot in the top 10…
        I want the oilers to put all their eggs in the ‘get NHL players basket’.
        I’m sorry but with the oilers development history, there is a strong chance that the players we get in this draft won’t make it to 100 games, and eventually be run out of town…
        We need useful, proven NHL players.
        It would also be nice to have a useful, proven NHL coach and a useful, proven NHL GM. I guess you can’t have everything.