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Thread: Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

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    Default Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

    Ekblad is an interesting cat. Borderline generational tag on draft day - definitely considered a potential franchise D.
    Full toolbox: Big shot, effortless skating, good passing, nice smarts, physical, dynamic. Big, NHL frame.
    As a prospect, comparisons were made to Lidstrom, Blake, Pronger, Weber, Pietrangelo, with a potential ceiling that rivaled Lidstrom and Pronger.

    So far in the NHL he's been a decent goal scorer but hasn't been able to break 40 points yet.
    However, in these International tournaments, he always looks like the best D on the ice and a budding offensive force.
    He looked just as impressive for the Young Stars NA squad in the World Cup.

    With all the talent in FLA, I'm surprised he hasn't popped 40 yet, but I sense it coming.
    Yandle taking the solo D spot on the main PP hurts him, but that better change soon. A future top PP of Barkov, Huberdeau, Dadonov, (4th F; "Trochek") and Ekblad would be lights out and a big boost for Ek.

    Injuries are a concern, but so far so good this season.

    What are your thoughts on Ekblad? 3Yr projections, long-term, basic thoughts and evaluation?

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    Default Re: Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

    Ekblad spent a large chunk of the season on the top PP unit. I haven't checked the numbers but remember seeing him there often. They used 3F-2D then but at some point realized Ekblad isn't all that helpful.

    He was a man among boys in junior hockey, dominated because his body was five years older than him. I think his playoff beard was better at 16 than most guys have at 25. I don't really remember anyone making such high projections at the time but I guess I could be wrong.
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    Default Re: Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

    According to dobber stats...
    Ekblad played 41% of the panthers powerplay time.
    Yandle spent 64%.

    Ekblad's time is in line with second pairing dman. He cracked 50% 17 times over the whole season, probably the games JP is referring to.

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    Default Re: Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

    Read my Cage Match on him from February - the link is in my signature. To summarize, there are lots of past player comparisons to be made, and if you go by Ekblad's strong SOG numbers that bodes well for him to eventually see a spike in scoring, whereas if you go by what's he accomplished thus far and what that represents, then you get some bad comparisons.

    My take is for a while his price was too high due to his past status as a #1 overall pick, but now it's close to a 180, where that status make him seem like more of a failure than he technically is, and thus he might be someone you can pry away or draft for a cheap enough value to justify the hope that he'll indeed breakout.
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    Default Re: Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

    I love Ekblad as a player but don't see him ever exceeding 45-50pts. Primary reason being his playing style and usage on the team: he's their Scott Stevens, not their Scott Niedermayer. Secondary reason being the system Florida plays: they don't seem to generate a ton of offense from the backend. From what I've watched, they seem to play down low /cycle without incorporating the dmen a lot more than other teams.

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    Default Re: Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jouko-Pouko View Post
    Ekblad spent a large chunk of the season on the top PP unit. I haven't checked the numbers but remember seeing him there often. They used 3F-2D then but at some point realized Ekblad isn't all that helpful.

    He was a man among boys in junior hockey, dominated because his body was five years older than him. I think his playoff beard was better at 16 than most guys have at 25. I don't really remember anyone making such high projections at the time but I guess I could be wrong.
    Yes, he was a beast. And yes, the projections were massive. He was the first defenseman to be granted "exceptional status" so he could play in the CHL younger. Here's a link to an article that talks about Ekblad, even making some comparisons ...

    "A tremendous raw talent who has been compared to Chris Pronger, Sergei Zubov and even Bobby Orr, Ekblad appears unfazed by the pressure..."
    I remember heading into the draft, the comparison made most was "Lidstrom with Weber's shot." There was a lot of hype around him.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMatthews View Post
    According to dobber stats...
    Ekblad played 41% of the panthers powerplay time.
    Yandle spent 64%.

    Ekblad's time is in line with second pairing dman. He cracked 50% 17 times over the whole season, probably the games JP is referring to.
    Yep, there were a few times I saw him on the Top PP unit, but it was short-lived, unfortunately. I saw him anchoring the 2nd unit most often.


    Quote Originally Posted by RizzeeDizzee View Post
    Read my Cage Match on him from February - the link is in my signature. To summarize, there are lots of past player comparisons to be made, and if you go by Ekblad's strong SOG numbers that bodes well for him to eventually see a spike in scoring, whereas if you go by what's he accomplished thus far and what that represents, then you get some bad comparisons.

    My take is for a while his price was too high due to his past status as a #1 overall pick, but now it's close to a 180, where that status make him seem like more of a failure than he technically is, and thus he might be someone you can pry away or draft for a cheap enough value to justify the hope that he'll indeed breakout.
    Riz, great piece! Just read it all; very in-depth. The difference between him and someone like Johnson though is, his raw skill and agility is far superior, as his ability to "place" a shot. EJ is very clunky and lumbering in his approach and takes way too much time processing decisions and unloading his shot.

    Ekblad reminds me a lot of Weber in the way he sets-up on the PP - I just wish Yandle would go take a hike so he could occupy that spot. I mean look at what Ristolainen can do on the Swords PP because he's been given the opportunity. Ekblad has more talent than Risto.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtstr View Post
    I love Ekblad as a player but don't see him ever exceeding 45-50pts. Primary reason being his playing style and usage on the team: he's their Scott Stevens, not their Scott Niedermayer. Secondary reason being the system Florida plays: they don't seem to generate a ton of offense from the backend. From what I've watched, they seem to play down low /cycle without incorporating the dmen a lot more than other teams.
    I'm torn on that. A young Scott Stevens was very productive offensively with (2) 70 point seasons, (3) 60 point seasons, and (3) 50 point seasons, before being more of a stay-at-home in the Devils' trapping system of the mid-90's. Even Scotty Nieds didn't hit 50 points until his 7th year (6th full) due to the Devils system!

    I agree with you on how the Beach Cats use their players. Even when Ekblad did produce, it often looked like he was jumping in deep (like a forward) and striking. I just wish he would get more PP time and a chance to polish his offensive game. In these tournaments, he gets a chance to flex his offensive chops and he looks awesome doing it. I remember that in the World Cup - he was put in a big-time, offensive role on the PP.

    Weber broke out in his 4th season.
    Hedman broke out in his 5th season.
    Pronger broke out in his 6th season.
    Next year will be Ekblad's 5th season - I'm hoping for a breakout. He's consistently had double-digits in goals, he just needs about 10-12 more assists to be a very good offensive contributor on the back end. I just hate how he's not a staple on the main PP unit consistently and I can't figure it out. Usually "#1 rock D" are tossed that bone - Blake, Pronger, Lidstrom, Weber, Doughty, Suter, Keith, etc.

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    Default Re: Aaron Ekblad, what say you?

    Quote Originally Posted by fungchen3 View Post
    Yes, he was a beast. And yes, the projections were massive. He was the first defenseman to be granted "exceptional status" so he could play in the CHL younger. Here's a link to an article that talks about Ekblad, even making some comparisons ...

    I remember heading into the draft, the comparison made most was "Lidstrom with Weber's shot." There was a lot of hype around him.
    I remember there being a lot of hype when he was granted that exceptional status but I seem to remember that hype slowing down closer to the NHL draft and then talk being more like "well, this is a weak draft and he's the best guy available but he isn't all that great".

    I just checked my own fantasy hockey rankings from 2014, and I had Ekblad at #7 behind Nylander, Ehlers and yes, Dal Colle. In the league where I used this (the only dynasty league I played at the time), we draft before the NHL draft.

    (I also noticed I had Pastrnak at #16 and he went 29th in the draft. Oh my, why didn't I trade up to get him then.)

    (UPDATE: I also noticed that Brayden Point went 25th in our fantasy draft. Hey NHL GMs, what the hell? Why is it so difficult for you?)
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