OILERS NO. 14 PROSPECT (winter 2016) NICK ELLIS

by Lowetide

We are now entering a period (prospects 14 through 25) that could be in any order, depending on your point of view. I have chosen Nick Ellis for No. 14 despite a very small sample size. We may look back on this choice as folly—he has fewer than 10 pro games experience—but in this case his final college season was also outstanding. We don’t know much about Nick Ellis, but the data available is so good, he lands here.

PREVIOUSLY NO. 14 ON THE WINTER LIST

  • December 2006: C Kyle Brodziak (720) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2007: D Cody Wild (0) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2008: L Bryan Lerg (8) (FA signing by Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2009: R Ryan Stone (35) (Trade by Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2010: C Chris VandeVelde (223) (GM: Kevin Lowe)
  • December 2011: D Jeremie Blain (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2012: G Olivier Roy (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2013: D David Musil (4) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2014: D Joey Laleggia (0) (GM: Steve Tambellini)
  • December 2015: C Kyle Platzer (0) (GM: Craig MacTavish)

Kyle Brodziak came from a long, long way back to make the grade, I credit the player for beating the ranking. After that, Chris VandeVelde found a role in the NHL and this is his third season as a regular. Recent seasons have seen various depth picks (and David Musil) ranked here, Ellis is the final of Peter Chiarelli’s big three college signings from the spring/summer, joining Drake Caggiula and Matt Benning who appeared previously on the Winter Top 20.

ellis 2

WHAT THEY SAID ON SIGNING DAY

  • Chris Dilks, SB Nation: Ellis spent the past two seasons waiting in the wings behind superstar goalie Jon Gillies at Providence. But this year, as the team’s top goalie, he’s been able to shine. Ellis brings a good mix of size and athleticism and has been very effective in net all season.
  • Ross Brooks, former NHL goalie: “He doesn’t get rattled. He’s very calm. Some guys are all over the place in the net, but he positions himself very well. He’s always facing the puck.” Source

ellis

PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING

  • Summer 2016: No. 28
  • Winter 2016: No. 14

Despite flying up the Top 20 in such a short time, there is one player on this year’s list who moved up even more (still to come). Nick Ellis is playing less than 40 percent of Bakersfield’s games, and yet the young goalie is the the fifth Condors player to make the winter Top 20. His save percentage, despite the small sample size, warrants the ranking.

I considered Ellis for No. 13, and the player at No. 15 (we will find out on Wednesday) is in a little window here with Griffin Reinhart and Ellis. Each of them have specific reasons for being kept out of the top 12, and real reasons why they warranted consideration. In the case of Ellis, the small sample size is a big concern, while the performance warrants a top 10 ranking. I have him here.

2016-17

  • Nick Ellis: “You just to work as hard as you can every day, put your best foot forward every day, work hard and compete. It’s definitely a little bit faster (pro vs. NCAA). Guys shoot a little bit faster, the passes are harder, so you have to make sure you are set, quick, and explosive. I worked out really hard (this summer) because I knew that Edmonton really focused on off-ice, and on the ice, just doing the small details that will make a big difference.” Source
  • Lowetide blog, September 17 after Canucks game in Penticton: He was a strong candidate for player of the game, suspect many left the rink thinking exactly that way. Saved 29 of 30, .967, and several were of the difficult variety. College man, so he had more experience than many in that game but for me that was a terrific effort. No. 3 star of the game for me. Source
  • Lowetide blog, October 21: He is the early star among AHL rookies (along with Benning), posting a .925 save percentage in the first two games of the season. I hesitate to say he will end up pushing Brossoit for the NHL backup job, because it is much too early. Suffice to say he has looked good so far. Source

ellis-stats

THE FUTURE

The Oilers slow play all of their goalies, even the good ones. Devan Dubnyk played over 100 AHL (and 43 ECHL) games before he became an NHL goalie, and Laurent Brossoit is also over 100 AHL games in the organization and waiting his turn.

Ellis has posted two season’s worth of strong numbers and he isn’t 27 or anything—seems to me we have some evidence we are looking at a legit goalie prospect.

THE 2012 DRAFT

  • Nail Yakupov, No. 1 overall. Now playing for the St. Louis Blues. Graduated to the NHL.
  • Griffin Reinhart, No. 4 overall. At such a young age: Crossroads. No. 13 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Mitch Moroz, No. 32 overall. Seems to be getting more playing time in the final year of his entry-level deal. Candidate for the Top 20.
  • Jujhar Khaira, No. 63 overall. Khaira is one of the few success stories for Edmonton from this draft and is poised to begin his NHL career. Still a reasonable range of possibilities as far as future role, and we wait to see how he will be deployed. No. 9 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Daniil Zharkov, No. 91 overall. Now playing in the KHL. No longer in the organization.
  • Erik Gustafsson, No. 93 overall. Currently in the AHL (Chicago). No longer in the organization.
  • Joey Laleggia, No. 123 overall. Small puck mover has offense and chaos. A candidate for the Top 20.
  • John McCarron, No. 153 overall. Now in the ECHL. No longer part of the organization.
  • Drake Caggiula, not drafted. Passed through the 2012 entry draft, Edmonton signing him in the spring. Some offensive success (7gp, 0-2-2) early in his NHL career. No. 3 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Matt Benning, drafted No. 175 overall in 2012. I think he might be the real thing. Now at 16gp, 0-4-4, he is mobile and can move the puck. An excellent addition. No. 4 prospect, Winter Top 20.
  • Nick Ellis, not drafted. Eligible for the 2012 draft, he was playing high school hockey (Pomfret School) in 2011-12. His late development in college was pronounced and impressive, as has been his pro debut. No. 14 prospect, Winter Top 20.

ROLLING TOP 20

rolling-top-20

  • When was the last time Edmonton had four goalies in the system who were either NHL quality or strong prospects? In 1997-98, Curtis Joseph was the starter and Bob Essensa was the backup. Down in Hamilton, Steve Passmore and J-F Labbe played well. It has been a long time, and the current group has some question marks, but the AHL tandem looks strong.
  • At some point, the Oilers are going to have to let Nick Ellis play, and that is problematic with Laurent Brossoit as the AHL starter. I imagine we will see relief at the deadline, but the Condors are on track to play Ellis in fewer than 30 games—that isn’t enough.
  • Edmonton has improved depth up the middle since Bob Green and Peter Chiarelli arrived to help the procurement department.
  • The Winter Top 20 is heading into the back stretch and there are some things we can say with authority: This is not a strong list, the depth up the middle has improved over recent years and the forward list badly needs shoring up.
  • Peter Chiarelli’s aggressive college season netted Edmonton the No. 3 (Drake Caggiula), No. 4 (Matt Benning) and No. 14 (Nice Ellis) prospects.
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Good morning. I know another post is coming in an hour. Just wanted to comment on this note from LT:

“But please, for goodness sake, don’t rob yourself of feeling good just to be the Jesus of cool on the Al Gore. That’s just about the saddest thing possible after all these years.”

Amen.

orangepylon

LT,

Small quibble – Drake C is 9 gp, 1-2-3

Diesel

Scungilli,

No doubt about that.

Scungilli Slushy

Diesel: He’s always facing the puck

Would have also been nice on a few GA last night – ‘head on a swivel’. And I’m not talking about Monster.

Diesel

“He’s always facing the puck.”

Not exactly an inspiring scouting report until you watch Jonas Gustavsson.

Diablo

Showerhead:
Diablo,

I always thought of MPS and Yakupov as somewhat opposite.

Paajarvi could defend reasonably well but I always worried where his offense would come from.
In Yakupov’s case, I assumed the offense would work out (and if I recall correctly, the EV/60 was usually decent) but no one else on the ice seemed to know what he was up to.

Maybe it’s just me.

Yeah MPS has world class speed and good size, but a terrible shot. He should’ve had a career in the NHL as an elite checker, but unlike his buddy Lander, he has no taste for physical play at the NHL level.

Eakins was a terrible coach, no doubt about it. But Eakins didn’t “ruin” Yak – as it was with Gagner, the problem with Yak is that he’s not big enough and not quick enough to be a one-trick pony.

I’ve watched some of Yak’s play for St. Louis (man I love Gamecenter – actually I just like watching Senko play) – the problem with Yak is he doesn’t understand what his linemates are doing. The guy goes offside more than any player I’ve watched. He tries hard in both zones, but he’s always out of position. He has decent scoring ability, but he’s no Tarasenko. He’s neither big nor especially fast, which makes it hard for him to dangle past NHL defenders. His clapper is pretty heavy, but he can’t hit the net with it. LT once described Sam Gagner as guy with “one year’s experience times six.” I think that describes Yak very well too – he physically peaked in junior, and his skill hasn’t improved beyond what he showed as a sheltered rookie.

MrEd

Embrace being a cold weather city Edmonton.

stush18

Glass:
What makes me really happy it that we still have Miroslav Svoboda and Dylan Wells trending really well.

Svoboda is really flying under the radar. Won’t know much until he comes over, but def trending up.

Wonder if he signs here next year to backup Ellis/play echl?

Showerhead

Diablo,

I always thought of MPS and Yakupov as somewhat opposite.

Paajarvi could defend reasonably well but I always worried where his offense would come from.
In Yakupov’s case, I assumed the offense would work out (and if I recall correctly, the EV/60 was usually decent) but no one else on the ice seemed to know what he was up to.

Maybe it’s just me.

Glass

What makes me really happy it that we still have Miroslav Svoboda and Dylan Wells trending really well.

Showerhead

UPDATE: I think I’ve typed this correctly (IE the errors are Maroon’s) but:

I just want to be clear about a few things on my recent interview.
First of all I’m not a sexist by any accounts. I respect women and have the upmost respect to women hockey players. I was referring to the NHL when I stated it was a “man’s game” not hockey. The NHL.
Second for all the people who are calling me (I will keep it PG) not smart. Last time I checked I play hockey, not school. No degree needed here you should try it…

Not as bad as I thought. Angry, sure, but nothing that should last the night unless people take it personally.

Also didn’t a woman play for the Lightning once?

--hudson--

So the Wild got the Oilers on the end of a back to back last night. This Friday they get them on the end of another back to back. That’s a little unfair with a competitor for a wildcard spot.

I guess it is offset by the Oilers having the fewest B2Bs in the league with only 10.

Diablo

You know, I never got the love here for Yakupov – from the way people talked about him, you would think he can shoot like Laine, skate like McDavid, and dangle like ‘Senko but he’s been prevented from going supernova because his evil coaches were “holding him back” and “trying to turn him into a checker”.

He was a good junior player, physically mature for his age, and it seems that he peaked at that level – similar to MPS, he just hasn’t developed that one outstanding skill that makes coaches willing to overlook how much of a liability he is at his own end of the ice. The history of the NHL is littered with similar stories.

Its too bad for him that he got picked first overall – 2012 was such a terrible draft crop. If he lands in LV, he might have a a few Brian Bradley years, but I think he is probably KHL bound soon.

Speaking of highly touted players from recent drafts – what do people think of Elias Lindholm? A RH C whose development seems to have stalled. Justin Faulk only has 7 points this season, and is sporting his usual negative +/- (I know, I know … crappy stat). Wonder if Carolina would rethink an RNH for Faulk deal? Add our 2017 1st and flip a couple of highly touted picks (Reinhart for Lindholm)?

Showerhead

Centre of attention,

Oh my, that’s not the classiest double-down. That said, I think your take is exactly right. Guy gets angry, says some stuff. The world keeps spinning. Or: “Water is wet.”

For me it’s a story to watch, not one to agonize over, but I wonder what the scribes will say.

Scungilli Slushy

That a player gets it together after being traded and not wanted does not mean it would ever work out with the Oilers. Dubnyk was awful and couldn’t stick with two teams before the Wild. Gagner was close to being out of the league IMO – moments of clarity.

Cogliano, Gagner, Pajaarvi, Schremp, Schultz, Nilsson, Larsen, ……………………… were not good players for Edmonton.

Dubnyk was average until he lost it. Petry is as good as he was here which is good, Hall is great as he was.

———————–

I watched some Panthers Bruins. Watch Jagr play. He is slow and tired. He does nothing exceptional, except score and score.

They should make Oiler wingers watch tape. Like Hossa, going to the right space at the right speed, winning puck battles and putting the puck to the right place and it actually getting there makes really good things happen. Playing on the perimeter missing chips and passes with no plan of attack makes it hard to score. I’m surprised Florida doesn’t win more when healthy. Barkov is a beauty, Leon is much like him.

MrEd

There is a code to all of sport. Risk.
It’s been a mirror for ever.
Maroon was speaking to this code.
‘Man’

Centre of attention

Showerhead,

Agree, he was trying to say “mans game” as in its a “mature game” or “connor is mature enough to know the risks”

His twitter follow up was bad though. he definitely doubled down and actually made a bit of a fool of himself. It was poorly typed up with lots of errors and it was clearly just him lashing out at the media who he felt had taken him out of context.

He literally said “We players are the reason you media have good jobs” And that “I don’t need a degree to play hockey”

Yeah… it was that kind of rant.

I hope it all blows over though. Clearly he was misunderstood, then got angry. The sky is blue. Water is wet. The internet is not your friend.

kinger_OIL

Professor Q: As have I. I wish it would have worked out here; still have his rookie card. And Arnott’s I think…

– I always found Gagner to be a smug not the hardest working guy, who was gifted opportunites, over-achieved on offense while being part of the culture that couldn’t be bothered to be responsible defensively. He didn’t appear to work hard to improve his skating in off-seasons (he talked a good game). He just kind of hung out took advantage of an opportunity but did nothing to develop. (an elite Mike Comrie)

– In terms of his “success” in Columbus: let’s hope Yak gets the same in Vegas on top-line

Centre of attention

GMB3:
What happened with Maroon?
The NHL is a man’s game is it not?

Yeah but hockey is an inclusive sport.

That idea can’t be challenged.

Maroons choice of words struck a chord with a certain sect of hockey that has been trying to break down barriers.

Was he misunderstood? For sure.

But his twitter response was ill-conceived at best. Better to just cut your losses and drop it at this point.

MrEd

I’m a pretty simple guy. Since Hall has been gone we’ve been better.

Maroon, the Man, was tweeting his truth. Fucking twitter. 140 characters.

Professor Q

Genjutsu: Good for him.

I wonder if he’s just now fully recovered from the Kassian incident.

Brains are strange things and trauma can take different amounts of time to recover from, if recovery happens at all.

Always cheered for him.

As have I. I wish it would have worked out here; still have his rookie card. And Arnott’s I think…

GMB3

What happened with Maroon?
The NHL is a man’s game is it not?

Genjutsu

MrEd:
4 points for Sam.Goodnight.

Good for him.

I wonder if he’s just now fully recovered from the Kassian incident.

Brains are strange things and trauma can take different amounts of time to recover from, if recovery happens at all.

Always cheered for him.

Showerhead

UPDATE: I had only read an article – not a tweet. My comment above is based on Maroon being frustrated about McDavid being pulled, saying it is a “man’s game” and that people get hit.

kinger_OIL

MrEd:
Centre of attention,

Over-coaching is a thing I think too.Yak may well be the poster boy.

– Buddy shows up to NHL on a gong show. Scores the most goals of any rookie his first year, ties for most points: can’t ask for much more from a #1 Pick: without the Steve Austin treatment

– Don’t forget that he also put up decent numbers in the KHL during the lock-out

– Before that has some awesome World juniors, where he shows great skills and heart

– Dallas comes in: OBC tells him to give Yak the bidness

– Just an awful unwinding of his career. Seemingly a nice hard-working passionate hockey player. This was such a promising wonderful person, it should have worked out so much better:

http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2015/03/17/oilers-forward-nail-yakupov-routinely-helps-out-homeless-individuals

– Vegas will love his enthusiasm on a scoring line: change his name to Neil Bovider

Showerhead

If Nick Ellis is good, then Chiarelli goes from having a positive college summer to crushing NCAA signings. I hate the Hall trade more than I feel anything about anything else he’s done but it’s important to acknowledge strengths where they exist.

As for Maroon, I’m interested to see how this goes. I am not Pat Maroon so I don’t know what Pat Maroon was thinking but: calling a sport a man’s game MIGHT be saying it is for adults as opposed to for children. I certainly sometimes use the term man as a symbol of strength with the intent to celebrate the progress of men vs. boys, not to suggest women are weak. That said, I would suggest MOST instances of “man’s game” type talk have sexism somewhere tucked in.

If he’s smart, he’ll simply apologize: “I was upset that we lost, things were heated, I wanted our best player in the game and I said the wrong thing.” I call that smart because it spares him the firestorm (and, if his words come from a place of sexism, then the peace created by his apology will give him the space he needs to learn.)

If he’s not smart, he’ll double down.

No matter what he does, there will be ignorant people on the internet who want to see meaning / progress pre-existing narratives based on his words and they will use his mini-outburst as a pretense.

MrEd

4 points for Sam. Goodnight.

Jethro Tull

What did Maroon say? Can’t get the tweet anymore.

MrEd

Centre of attention,

Over-coaching is a thing I think too. Yak may well be the poster boy.

Centre of attention

Professor Q: Why couldn’t that be Yak?

I want that 2nd Rounder…

Hitchcock was never going to give Yak a chance.

What Yak needs is an expansion team to scoop him up & give him the keys to the top 6. Let him run loose & score 20 goals & feel good about himself. He’ll figure the rest out as he goes.

I think the player has been over-coached. If that’s actually possible I’m not completely sure, but I’m sticking with it.

MrEd

Centre of attention,

3 point night so far. Good for Samwise.

Professor Q

Centre of attention:
Sam Ganger has 10 goals. I shit you not.

Schultz has 3 goals in 4 games.

Why couldn’t that be Yak?

I want that 2nd Rounder…

stush18

Centre of attention: It happens to the best of us.

My mom always said words are like that fresh tube of tooth paste you eye up as a kid. Sure, its fun and feels good to squeeze it all out. But now that it’s all over the place, its really hard to put it all back.

I bet everyone who posts here regularly has said something they regret, whether it be intentionally or not.

Good analogy. Pats prolly rethinking what he’s said.

This is frusterating because I see so many different tweets attacking maroon for being sexist, or tweets making fun of maroon because he sounds stupid. Like, you’re being just as bad as what people “think” maroon is.

If we’re going to make a fuss about about maroon being sexist, let’s make a fuss about everyone else being assholes.

Either that or everyone stop being so damn sensitive.

Centre of attention

Sam Ganger has 10 goals. I shit you not.

Schultz has 3 goals in 4 games.

MrEd

I wonder if the concussion spotter mandate #4)… clutch head or face, will help with the boys trying to draw penalties after close high sticks.
I hope so.

stush18

#freemaroon

MrEd

I sure hope either LB or Ellis shows enough to find a little bit of work this year with the big club.
The Monster scares me.

Centre of attention

Professor Q: Well, I certainly don’t hope they leave him Marooned. But lots of talks in store…

It happens to the best of us.

My mom always said words are like that fresh tube of tooth paste you eye up as a kid. Sure, its fun and feels good to squeeze it all out. But now that it’s all over the place & you’ve made a mess, it’s really hard to put it all back.

I bet everyone who posts here regularly has said something they regret, whether it be intentionally or not.

Professor Q

Centre of attention: The tweet in question is now deleted, Maroon will probably have an awkward meeting with JJ and perhaps the coach tomorrow morning before practice.

Well, I certainly don’t hope they leave him Marooned. But lots of talks in store…

Centre of attention

Centre of attention:

I imagine JJ Hebert is all over this, and he’ll be much more quiet on twitter going forwards.

The tweet in question is now deleted, Maroon will probably have an awkward meeting with JJ and perhaps the coach tomorrow morning before practice.

Centre of attention

Professor Q:
Centre of attention,

He did sort of mess up though. While I personally disagreed with him, obviously you never want it to grow out of proportion. But now he’s just digging further…

Yep. He’s digging further. Which is what I meant by “learning the hard way”

His original quote was rather innocent IMO. He was saying “mans game” as in “mature game”. I think he was trying to say “Connor is a man, he’s mature enough to know the risks”.

But of course in today’s world you need to be careful and his follow up comments are the opposite of being careful.

I imagine JJ Hebert is all over this, and he’ll be much more quiet on twitter going forwards.

Professor Q

Centre of attention,

He did sort of mess up though. While I personally disagreed with him (his stance and the words used, and their implications – essentially attempting to discredit proactive health monitoring etc. just because you happen to have a penis), obviously you never want it to grow out of proportion. But now he’s just digging further…

Although interesting dig at himself by saying he’s not intelligent nor wants to be. Some people I guess.

Centre of attention

Patrick Maroon is learning the hard way that twitter is an awful, awful place.

Hope nothing serious happens. He was definitely taken out of context today, but that is the world we live in.

Less is more when it comes to social media as an athlete IMO. People are always looking for ways to get offended.

https://twitter.com/patmaroon/status/805949918309453824

Georges

If (when) the McDavid-Lucic-Draisaitl experiment ends, here’s what I hope our coach considers for a lineup that can drive the play in the right direction and finish:

McDavid-Lucic-Letestu
Nuge-Pouliot-Eberle
Draisaitl-Maroon-Pul/Kassian
Caggiula-Slep-Pitlick/Kassian

Letestu is a surprisingly good finisher. Maybe Yak was holding him back.

Maroon is a surprisingly effective possession player. He should go on the line that needs most help. Could play with Nuge and Ebs. They were very, very good in limited ice time.

Klima's_Bucket

JDï™,

Na, he likely lacks the range of skills to take that next step. 😉

JD_Wry

Suspect Ellis was nicked in the ratings because of lack of offense 😉

Glass

I personally don’t see a problem with Ellis playing 30 games this season, then becoming the AHL starter next season when Broissoit moves up to full time NHL back-up.

Aron_S

LT, where do development specialists like to see a goalie like Ellis? Playing 1/3rd of the AHL time as a back up or in the Laurikinen role in the ECHL? Is ice time or QOC more important for a goalie fresh out of college?