Showing posts with label NHL 2014 Draft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NHL 2014 Draft. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What to make of the 2014 NHL Draft Top 4 Prospects?

The city of Edmonton and Oiler fans everywhere are buzzing about this years NHL Entry Draft coming up at the end of June. Granted there is not much else to be focusing in on with the exception of the hiring of Craig Ramsey yesterday as a assistant coach.

The difference this year is the unpredictability of who the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres will be picking and what will be left for the Edmonton Oilers. From the best information I can gather the Oilers so far have the players ranked in this order if they could select their Top 4 rankings. They will select the highest ranking player they have listed and be happy doing so.

#1. Aaron Ekblad
#2. Sam Reinhart
#3. Leon Draisaitl
#4. Sam Bennett

The only thing that may stand out different for the Oilers from most of the NHL is where they rank Draisaitl. Very few teams rank him in their top 3 and would much sooner have Bennett in that slot. Until recently I was pretty sure needing offence the Panthers would for sure select Reinhart or Bennett but a recently posted article here may tell us different. Ekblad may be a risk but Florida even last year did not go with the high offensive output of Drouin instead selected the big man-child from Finland. It is very likely this could be the situation this year and a franchise defensemen is not such a bad prize to grab.

Buffalo is up next. On their website they specially linked this video to their site evaluating players at the draft. Reading too much into this? I don't think so. There is lots of other opinions and this video could be a tell they want Sam Reinhart. Should he be off the board then it's highly likely a low scoring team like Buffalo will go with Bennett. 

So if the Oilers do have their rankings as listed above by me, it's almost a certainty that Reinhart will be gone in the top 2 picks regardless. That leaves their list as they pick up Ekblad at the #3 spot if Florida takes Reinhart but if Ekblad goes to Florida and Buffalo takes Reinhart, then the Oilers will select Aaron Ekblad.

I am pretty sure when the Oilers walk to the podium June 27th they will be selecting a large, skilled and smart franchise Defensemen in EKBLAD or a potential #2 large bodied, strong, skilled Center in DRAISAITL. Either way, the Oilers will be getting bigger and more skilled in one of their most desperate needs moving forward. It's a good year and Oiler fans have something to be excited about.

NEXT UP? My Year End 'REVS 2014 Top 15 NHL Prospect Rankings'

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

REVS 2014 Draft Prospects (#2 "Aaron Ekblad")

 REVS 2014 NHL Draft Prospects (August 10/13)
1.Sam Reinhart
2.Aaron Ekblad
3.William Nylander
4.Roland McKeown
5.Jake Virtanen
6.Blake Clarke
7.Nick Ritchie
8.Leon Draisatl
9.Michael Dal Colle
10.Jakub Vrana
11.Ivan Barbashev
12.Jared McCann
13.Anton Karlsson
14.Joshua Ho-Sang
15.Sam Bennett 

Aaron Ekblad
6'4 216 lbs

Aaron Ekblad is a CHL player in the OHL playing for the Barrie Colts.He was selected 1st overall in the 2011 OHL Entry Draft.His application for "exceptional player" status was approved unanimously. The only other players given such eligibility were John Tavares in 2005, Connor McDavid in 2012 and recently Sean Day.

Todd Cordell says - "I've seen Aaron Ekblad over 100 times and he is the real deal. Simply put, he can do it all. He's 6'4, 200+ pounds and he can skate very well. He's big, not afraid to be physical and is a rock defensively. He can move the puck, QB a power play and has a booming shot. He's also extremely smart and can play and exceed in all situations."

I would tend to say his greatest assets are his strength, accurate passing skills, powerful shot or his high hockey IQ not to mention his intelligence off the ice where he generally gets all A’s in school. As for coaching , his mentoring has come from Dale Hawerchuk, a former 1st OV in the NHL. 

Aaron has been compared to Seth Jones. Maybe some look at size, some look at him as a strong skater who can shoot but let's look at offence. 

This is where some believe Seth is more gifted in the offensive rush unlike Aaron who will be more cautious. Aaron produced an .46 PPG as a under ager and .63 PPG as 1 year younger then Seth Jones who posted an .92 PPG total on a loaded Portland Winterhawk team. The question is , 'will Aaron come in with comparables in his PPG as Seth did in his draft year?' IMO I see Aaron coming in around the .80 PPG but really like his defensive game most and his physical play.

Ekblad is a very humble but large defender and if he continues the growth curve over the next few years he could very well project as a top 2 defender in the future. It's pretty certain among most scouts that Aaron will at least fit well into a 3-4 role but his upside is a 1-2 role down the road.

In the meantime, 'Keep your stick on the Ice'!

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