I know not everyone is an Oilers fan but few are fans of teams picking high this year. Now saying that Buffalo or Edmonton (who combined have a great chance on getting the first pick in the lottery) win. Does Edmonton trade down?
Ekblad is an amazing dman. He is huge and will be great one day. Many scouts put him as a number two guy that plays an amazing shut down role. Much like a barely smaller Chara is the comparison. He has offensive ability but right now that is not his strength (but it is also not how he is used either).
Buffalo is the only team near the top that has more need for an amazing center than they do a dman. Now I admit that Hodgeson, Ennis and Grigerenko are not a terrible young three but Myers, Ristolainen, Zadarov and McBain are a formidable top 4. Plus they all have one thing in common. They all appear to have the same skills as Ekblad. They are big shutdown guys with Myers being your best chance at any offense. However these are HUGE guys and Ekblad would be another.
I would think that Bennet, Reinhart or the larger german, Draisaitl would be have to at least be on their minds. Hodgeson is good but it is just uncertain whether he will ever be that top Center that every team needs. One of these three will definitely be a top center in 5 years. Maybe all of them but there is a lot of speculation about each of the players. Picking the correct one of the three has to be huge for any team.
Then we come to the Oilers who have dismal defense but what is often overlooked is their potential. Marincin, Fedun and Klefbom have each showed some amazing skill when called up. Klefbom seems to get better every game and Marincin is some good off season muscle building away from being a guy who could really cause some damage out there. Fedun only played a little while but he showed that he could be an offensive dman that at least will compete for a 5-6 spot next year.
Then their is Nurse who despite my still thinking Nichuskin was the correct pick, is having a great season. I don't know how much he would get out a year in the AHL. He seems pretty ready to start taking on some ice time. Worst case scenario he is a year away.
Then we have our Veterans. Ference who has a NTC and might end his time with Edmonton as a 5-6 guy with the way the young guys are coming along. Petry has been our best defense on many occasions, which says a lot since he has spent his career playing on a team that is on its 8th year of rebuilding. Still he is only 26 and his best is yet to come. Justin, for as much as everyone expects him to be amazing has played not even a season and a halfs worth of games and he hasn't missed one yet. He is already a great heads up dman and if we give him the same chance we have given the others to mature, he very well be a top two offensive forward in a the next couple years. In a few years he might partner with Nurse as a highly ranked top pair.
Then we have Davidson, Gernat and Musil who are all doing good. Edmonton is 2 years from finding them in a spot they are not use to. Too many elite defense men.
With that said. Do they take Ekblad? A guy that would probably only need one year in the minors and then worry about trading other guys later. With the value Defense are getting, we could probably get some good value for our young prospects. Or do they trade down as EVERY other team in the top 10 needs a Dman in a bad way. Ekblad's trade value might be huge to the right team. If we package it right, he might be worth a first round next year when there are two amazing forwards being compared to Crosby or he could land us a player we could use this year. Just to trade down and pick one of the 4 top end centers in this draft. A guy that would eventually take Gagner's place as our second line center (important to note that 3 of the 4 centers are also use to playing wing).
Defense are always more unpredictable than forwards but Ekblad will be good and is by far the best d man available this year. However some scouts don't see him being more than a 3-4 guy playing a shutdown role. Either way he will be a year or two in making the team. The question is do the Oilers need a big dman or a guaranteed second line center in two years.
I love Ekblad but quite frankly my opinion is, if we can get a good pick for him (preferably in next years stronger draft) or anything decent to move down a spot or two, I would take it. However anything less than a second round pick next year and I would take him and be one of the few teams selling young dmen in the near future.