I wish that I could say that Travis Ewanyk was NHL ready, had put on tons of muscle and had shown improved, phenomenal numbers on offense—if I could, he might be part of the Oilers solution down the middle. Alas, this prospect isn’t despite flashes he has shown both with the OKC Barons and the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Hockeysfuture.com described Ewanyk as follows:
Ewanyk is a very good faceoff man, a versatile center, with a well-deserved reputation for efficient two-way play. He is not afraid to impose himself physically during puck battles and is competent when the gloves are dropped. Although he is not likely to deliver a great deal of offense at the next level, he is a natural leader. Ewanyk could play an NHL depth role as an agitator who regularly draws the tough defensive assignment against the opposition’s best players.
Sound like anyone you know? Certainly, there are shades of Boyd Gordon here. Gordon is adept on the dot, takes tough defensive assignments and he plays physical. Ewanyk seems to play a similar game, so why isn’t he more in the conversation?
He can’t score much. Relegated to the fourth line in OKC a fair bit last year, he only managed 12 points in 68 games. When you’re a centerman you are expected to help generate offense. If you have below average numbers in the AHL its nearly a given you will have trouble producing at a higher level. Anton Lander is a fine bellwether here. He scores like a man on fire in the AHL, yet can barely make the scoresheet in the NHL. Ewanyk can’t light it up in the minors, so until he finds the scoring levels he acheived with the Oil Kings, it will be an uphill climb.
Will he make the team this season?
Not a chance. With Andrew Miller and Will Acton ahead of him, he would need a season of miracles to receive a call up. He was criticized for not being aggressive enough last season, and that can’t be for someone who got to where he is now by being more physical. Ewanyk may crack the line up someday, but right now is a blip on the radar.