Aaron Ekblad

Oilers: On Aaron Ekblad and Insanity

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

As we near draft day in Oil Country, my amusement over how people are assessing the team’s strategy this June has begun to turn to disbelief.

How can so many of you continue to criticize the Oilers so harshly for rushing kids into the NHL, and then turn right around and demand that they continue to do just that? Exhibit “A”: Aaron Ekblad. Although as you will see, this applies to the 3 other young men considered to be in that top grouping this spring as well.

Everyone seems to agree that the Oilers need a top pairing defenceman. That’s not Nikita Nikitin, he’ll be a good 3rd pairing man, if they can get that deal done. I mean a Dion Phaneuf-like player. A player that can log 25-28 minutes per night, and play on both special teams. He needs to be your best defenceman.

I’ll be delighted if the Oilers are able to pick Aaron Ekblad at #3. I’ll be mildly shocked if he’s still available by then, but that would be their loss and the Oilers gain. However to suggest that then the club’s top-pairing D-man role would then be filled by Ekblad is pure lunacy. C’mon, really?

The Oilers rushed Sam Gagner to the NHL. Have you enjoyed those results? Don’t you believe that his 2-way game would have been much stronger with even a single season in the AHL? And they’ve done the same with Anton Lander, Andrew Cogliano, Magnus Paajarvi and others.

Take a look at Shea Weber. Ekblad and Weber would appear to be somewhat similar player types. Weber’s first season of pro hockey consisted of 46 games with the Milwaukee Admirals, followed by a call-up 28 games long in Nashville, where his boxcars were 28-2-8-10.

You cannot reasonably expect more than that from Aaron Ekblad. He is not on track to be one of the 3 best defencemen on the planet, as Weber is. The Oilers would be well advised to treat Ekblad (again, if they get him) just like Nashville did Weber.

But this isn’t just about Ekblad, after all as I say I think it’s unlikely he lands here anyway. It’s more probable that Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl dons the Copper & Blue on draft day. The team IS thin at Center. All 3 are good prospects.

But again, so many of you gleefully drop one of these 3 kids into that 2C slot instead of Sam Gagner, the very thing you criticized the Oilers of doing to Gagner himself in 2007. Don’t you see what you’re doing?

It’s like you’ve contracted a bizarro-Oilers strain of Stockholm Syndrome. Break the cycle. Bring in “real” NHL’ers to support the kids, and let the prospects grow & develop, like Detroit has.

Otherwise, oh, the insanity, and the same results over, and over, and over again.

Tags: Aaron Ekblad Andrew Cogliano Anton Lander Magnus Paajarvi Nikita Nikitin Sam Gagner Shea Weber

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