NHL Draft Scout Series: OHL

Our first installment of the NHL Draft Scout Series focusing on the WHL was something of a success, so it was imperative we kept the
momentum going and fired up a new one as fast as we could.  

Fortunately, Todd Cordell, of TheHockeyGuys, was kind
enough to virtually sit down with us on short notice and discuss 2014 draft
eligible’s coming out of the Ontario Hockey League.

Christian: The
OHL always offers a solid crop of players, usually the best, for the draft,
what do you think the strength of this class is as a whole?

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Todd: I think
it’s a pretty good crop. Obviously near the top you have a lot of guys with
star potential led by Aaron Ekblad, Sam Bennett and Michael Dal Colle. There’s
a nice group that follows with Nick Ritchie, Brendan Perlini, etc. and I like
the variety of players as a whole. Whether you’re looking for a power forward,
a two-way center, offensive defenseman or anything else, I think this class has
several quality players to offer that fit the billing.

C: Ekblad has jostled
for position atop the overall rankings all year, what can you tell us about
him? Is he really as good as people say?

T: I’ve scouted
Ekblad live well over 100 times since he entered the OHL, and he is the real
deal. He has the size to be physically dominant when he wants to, he skates
well for a big man, and has a bomb of a shot. There’s a couple areas of his
game that could use some work, notably his pivots in the defensive zone, and
his outlet passing – he misses moving targets at times – but I don’t see
anything that leads me to believe he can’t be a very good player at the NHL
level. His hands are surprisingly good, he’s confident with the puck, and can
skate it out of trouble when necessary. Ekblad logs big minutes in all
situations, and if he learns to use his big frame a little more – he’s not
soft, but not as physical at he could be – he should be elite.

C: Do you buy
into the theory that Ekblad is as good as he is at the moment due to him
peaking (both physically and hockey-wise) now, and has little room to grow from

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T: I think being
so physically mature at a young age definitely helped him, but he earned all
the credit he gets. He’s a good player, but there’s lots of room for
improvement – that’s not a knock – and if he continues to work at it, he should
be able to live up to the hype. One thing I stress for fans is patience. He’ll
likely make the jump straight to the NHL, but defensemen usually take 200+
games in the NHL before you start to see their full potential. Let the guy
breath, and give him time to develop.

C: After Ekblad,
who’s your second ranked OHL skater, Bennett or Dal Colle?

T: I have Bennett
as my No. 2 skater right now. He has elite skating ability, and is a much
better two-way player than Dal Colle, so that’s the biggest thing for me. Dal
Colle is an unbelievable talent, but he needs work in the defensive zone. He
plays his man way too lose for my liking, and looks disinterested in playing defence.
He likes to blow the zone to get a head start the other way, and that hurts his
team at times.

C: It’s rare to
find a mock draft without one of those two landing in Calgary’s lap, what can you tell us about

T: Bennett is a
very fast, skilled two-way player. He plays the game at a high pace, sees the
ice well, and can score goals, too. He’s not afraid to get involved physically,
and he can play in all situations. Dal Colle has an NHL release, and is
exceptional offensively. He needs to work on his defensive game, but he should
be a guy who can produce points at a high rate in the NHL.

C: Of the two
power forwards ranked within the Top 10 ,who do you like more, Perlini or

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T: Nick Ritchie
is inconsistent at times, but I give him the edge. He plays a much more
physical style, and has the ability to take over games. Perlini is a big body, but
he’s not overly physical, and is more of speed guy than a true power forward. A
lot of his goals came on the power play, and he likes to play on the perimeter.

C: Which eligibles
have surprised this OHL season?

T: Andrew
Mangiapane is a name most haven’t heard of, but to me he was a big surprise
this season. He wasn’t drafted into the OHL, before Barrie
picked him up. He had a really nice season there, and was a consistent
offensive threat. Mangiapane is a guy who’s not on a lot of people’s radar
because of his size, but he doesn’t back down from bigger players and will
battle in the dirty areas of the ice. He sees the ice well, is a good skater,
and is real smart with the puck. Mangiapane scored 24 goals and recorded 51
points in 68 regular season games, and posted seven points in 11 playoff games.
He’ll be a late pick if he’s drafted, but considering he wasn’t expected to
even play in the OHL this season, it’s quite a story.

C: Which have disappointed? 

T: To me, Blake
Clarke was far and away the most disappointing player in the OHL this season.
He entered the year projected to be a top-10 pick in the NHL draft, and now
he’ll probably be taken late in the draft, if at all. He’s loaded with talent,
but he got off to a slow start this season, lost his confidence and never
really recovered. I think he’s too talented to fall off the face of the earth,
and given his talent he could be a good sleeper pick. A summer off to recharge
could be just what he needs.

C: The 1st round
always holds a lot of weight with fans, but the later rounds often offer solid
value as well, who are some potential gems that are currently ranked outside
the Top 30?

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T: Michael Amadio
is a solid two-way center who skates pretty well, and has some untapped
offensive potential. He didn’t post big numbers playing on a low-scoring,
defensive team in North Bay,
but I think he has ‘pro player’ written all over him. He needs more polishing,
but he’s a guy who can play in any situation, and is someone I could see in the
NHL a few years down the road. Another guy I like is Barrie Colts forward Kevin
Labanc. He’s not a big guy at 5’10”, but there’s room to grow there. He
can skate, is good with the puck, and can play on the power play or penalty
kill. I think with more of an offensive role in Barrie next season people will get to see how
good he can be.

C: Who are some
OHL prospects you see as overrated?

T: I don’t know
if overrated is the correct term for it, but I’ll go with Robby Fabbri. He’s a
guy who’s game I really like, but due to size concerns, and somewhat inflated
numbers on a powerhouse Guelph
team, he’s rated higher by some people than he should be. (Christian’s Note: The scouting community has been torn over Fabbri all
season. There’s no doubting he has tremendous skill, but many are concerned
about his size and the likelihood his numbers translate to the pro game. I’ve
heard some list him as Top 10, while others question him as a 1st round

C: How does the
2014 OHL class compare to recent ones? Do you buy the notion that 2014 is a
weak draft?

T: I don’t think
it’s a weak draft. The perception many people have is if it’s not considered to
be one of the best drafts ever, it’s a weak draft. I don’t think that’s the
case. There’s a lot of good players in this class, and several guys have the
potential to be elite.

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C: Are there any
second or third time eligibles that have made a considerable case this year to
finally be picked?

T: There are
several, actually. Center Erik Bradford is a guy who should have been selected
last year. He was kind of buried on a high-end Barrie team, but his defensive play was
excellent, and he produced points whenever he was given a chance. He was traded
to Ottawa
midway through the season, and he recorded 42 points in 27 games there playing
on the top line. His season ended early due to an unfortunate injury, but he
showed enough to get drafted. Defenseman Brandon Devlin was given an
opportunity to play big minutes in Peterborough,
and he used his big shot to his advantage scoring 14 goals and picking up 40
points. I think he has potential to be taken late, too. There’s a handful of
guys just like that, in fact.

C: Like always,
we’ll end on a personal note, who’s your favourite OHL eligible and why?

T: I’ll go with
Sam Bennett, just because I think he has the potential to be an elite two-way
forward who can produce points at a high rate, and drive possession. Those
don’t come around too often. (Christian’s
Note: And Flames fans drool.)

  • MC Hockey

    Good article..:)

    So with the news coming out of Florida that Tallon is willing to do a trade for the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, are Burke/Treliving interested in paying the price to get another top 5 pick in addition to their #4 overall pick?

    The price will likely be an Top F or D, plus a top prospect, plus a #2 pick.

    So for the Flames this could be one of Hudler/GlenX or Giordano/Brodie…plus Granlund/Gaudreau/Colborne…plus Flames 2nd round #35 pick overall this year.

    This is the same discussion the Flames will likely be having in the #8-#14 range to get RW Alex Tuch or D Hadyn Fleury, albeit without Gio/Brodie/Gaudreau being on the table.

    Bottom line: are the Flames willing to give up top assets to get Ekblad plus Draisaitl/Bennett but damage the current team leadership/chemistry/defence the coming year to do so?

    More pain in the short term for much greater longer term upside opportunity? Given this is likely a development year anyway, and with Eichel/McDavid in the offing would this be a strategy worth playing out?

    • Byron Bader

      If they can get in there I would love to see it. I wouldn’t touch Gaudreau, Granlund, Poirier, Sven, Brodie, Gio, Backlund, Monahan. If they can land that #1 pick without touching those guys and still keeping their #1 next year I’d be really impressed.

        • Byron Bader

          Trading away a 23 year old who’s already a possession monster of a defensemen (that was a 4th rounder) for a guy that has the potential to be slightly better (offensively) than Brodie but you don’t have any guarantee isn’t a good deal. Brodie’s way too good and should be a core piece of the build, IMO.

        • T&A4Flames

          And lose 4-5 years of development. I’m not sure it would be worth it. Brodie is already putting up top pairing minutes, solid possession #’s and starting to find the range points wise. Ekblad is still an unknown several yeara away from being impactful.

      • RedMan

        Gotta give to get. 1st overall I think would be worth going after, probably better offers out there than what we can afford to spend, but I would offer them Hudler or Wideman(eat some salary down to 4.0 mill), I would give them their pick of 1 of Sven, Klimchuk or Granlund & then give them their pick of 1 of Byron, Reinhart, Agostino if they opted for Wideman or pick of Wetherspoon or Seiloff if they took Hudler. I would add one of our 2nd rounders to the deal as well.

        Monahan, Gio, Brodie, JG, Poirier, Backlund go nowhere.

        Very expensive but worth it & even yet, I doubt if that would be enough to get that 1st over all. Play the pee out the kids next year & gun for Mcdavid or Eichel next year.

      • Byron Bader

        If they could do the trade, still keep their #1 next year plus not touch the list I too would be very impressed.

        However it’s not likely FLA would take the deal without at least one if not two of the players on that list.

        The Seguin trade is a reasonably good comparable. #1 pick overall Seguin, Peverley and prospect Ryan Button were traded from BOS to DAL for Loui Eriksson, top prospects Joe Morrow and Reilly Smith along with Matt Fraser. Seguin’s reputation at the time was a little sketchy so it may have depressed the asking price from DAL a little.

        So for the Flames to do a trade for the #1 pick, get another elite prospect of the proper age-frame into their core longer-term..I guess we have to be realistic about what we’d have to give up. Not sure what that would be…

    • aloudoun

      The price for getting the number one will be quite high. I believe it was rumored that Feaster offered all three number ones for first overall and was rejected. It is not as clear that this years number one might not be as elite as last years. If we could get the number one without giving up on our key prospects I would be okay with it. If the package was based upon our vets(Hudler, Glenx, Wides,Stajan) and our second tier prospects I would be okay with that If Trevling could do something like that he would be the guru of hockey. I suspect that there are other teams that will drive the price up.

  • supra steve

    What I hope is that the Flames are doing their homework (I know they are) and get THEIR list correct. I hope they get the best player with the proper attitude and desire to succeed with that 4th overall pick.

    I enjoy reading about the prospects and reading a lot of reader comments…but as for the draft, I see no value in selecting my own favorite or reading about anyone else’s, cause the Flames staff are the experts. My opinion on who they pick is worth nothing.

  • Byron Bader

    I would be willing to throw in Sven and we draft Bennett and Reinhart. Then with the rest of the picks we draft Defensemen and hope to develop some in our system like Brodie.

    You can never have enough skilled centers because you can always convert them to the wing.

  • Burnward

    I’m starting to thin I’d forget about Florida and target Buffalo at 2. Especially if they get the NYI pick.

    Wideman, Sven, Klimchuk enough to get in the convo?

    • piscera.infada

      If Buffalo gets the Isles #5 pick, they will probably hang on to their #2 pick.

      Maybe they will draft Reinhart at #2 and will trade the #5 pick to us for Sven and Max Reinhart………

      Dal Colle should be available at #5, even though I think Burke has a liking for Ritchie…..


  • ChinookArchYYC

    I going to happy with anyone they pick in the concensus 5. I hope that Ekbald falls to Edmonton and they pass. The crap storm management will have to endure will last a decade.

  • BurningSensation

    What’s interesting to me is that the Oiler’s fanbase is absolutely torturing themselves over which of Bennett/Reinhart/Draisatl is the best fit around The Nuge (and Gagner – who is a black hole on the roster that no life escapes from).

    Meanwhile, Calgary fans are genuinely optimistic that it really DOESN’T MATTER which of those three gets pugged in around Monahan.

    The most curious example of this dichotomy is how the team’s fanbasees view Reinhart.

    If Calgary takes him Reinhart would be easily assimilated into the C group, with on eye on his eventually being the #1 skill C with skilll and speed GMs dream about building around. Monahan would become the future #2 C who gets heavy minutes and tough zone starts. Easy peasey.

    But Edmonton fans are genuinely concerned that drafting Reinhart just repeats a broken template of small, skill-first forwards, who overpass. They seriously think that taking a Draisatl or Bennett OVER the more skilled Reinhart is the sensible thing to do.

    • aloudoun

      I totally agree, they are in love with the fact that Draisatl is a big, number 1 centre. Seems like they’d be willing to sacrifice more potential (I think Bennett and Reinhart both have more potential than Leon Draisatl) for a little more size.

      Flames fans, on the other hand, are perfectly happy with whatever we get. We’re not so spoiled lol!

      But hey, when you’ve been picking so high like the Oilers have been, you’re bound to get greedy

    • aloudoun

      Edmonton fans are pulling their hair out with what’s gone wrong. It worked ’79 dammit, no reason these young guys shouldn’t be superstars now too. Also, I understand Reinhart being “skill first,” but he’s 18 and 6’1″. He may still grow another inch on top of that and will certainly play at the 200lb mark. Not huge or anything, but hardly another Sam Gagner or even Nuge.

      I wouldn’t necessarily say that Reinhart is more skilled though. Very tough to say how that top 4 (or 5) will play out. Look at Jones going 4th last year. Bennett put up fantastic numbers too.

      • BurningSensation

        “I wouldn’t necessarily say that Reinhart is more skilled though. ”

        I don’t have a problem saying I think he is. Of the three C’s over the last quarter of the season and playoffs it was Reinhart who was going nuclear stats wise. Draisatl improved more than Bennett (IIRC), but Reinhart was at another level.

        Otherwise, I totally agree with you. The guys 1-5 all look like very solid picks who could fill a hole on the Flames roster (C, RW, D) depending on how things break, and they could break in very surprising ways.

    • aloudoun

      to be fair any of the top 4 players in this years draft could easily be the best player in 4 – 5 years. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus #1,2,3 or 4 among the top scouting agencies.

      Like you, I do find it amusing how the fan base is paranoid about picking the “wrong” player.

      • BurningSensation

        It’s part of the Oilers problem at the management level too. You ever watch that draft special of them a few years back? Seriously, it was stupid watching them debate back and forth. Agonizing for what seemed like days or even weeks over Taylor or Tyler. Who cares? I mean, yeah, you want to get it right, but there was a fine hair of difference between the two then and now. Point is, had they put even half that time and energy into later round picks as well as identifying which vets needed to keep or should acquire to balance the roster, they’d be in a far better situation today.

        Doesn’t seem like much has changed on that front either.

        As I said to Rex in his last column, the Oilers going out and getting Kane and ROR at the expense of their 1st rounders this year and next would make far more sense than Calgary doing it.

        Yet, instead, they seem obsessed with which 18 year old will carry them to the glory land now. They’re nuts over there. Waiting for the full-scale fan revolt to happen soon.

        • piscera.infada

          Therein lies the answer to why it’s sometimes better to pick at the back-end of the consensus ‘x’ number of players. Rank your top-4 or 5, and pick who falls. With the first overall pick, you have too much choice a lot of the time – unless of course there’s a bonafide, consensus, generational pick at the top of the draft.

        • aloudoun

          yup. I agree 100% It makes no sense for them to draft 3rd overall. They should trade their pick. If rumours are true the Flordia is trading their pick it might handcuff the oilers. they will have a tough time determining the asking price if the 1st overall gets traded. They will have to follow suite for better or worse.

          I wonder what the odds are of the oilers draft pick starting next year in the 2C position or if Ekblad starts on D. They really have no concept of proper development.

      • BurningSensation

        Totally agree. It wasn’t that long ago that Pittsburgh took Jordan Staal ahead of Toews and Backstrom.

        At the time there was no way to know whether they had the right player, but it was clear that they probably had a good one.

    • T&A4Flames

      Actually, the best part is that some of them are stressing over what they are leaving for us to pick; will he be the better player?

      I agree that Reinhart isn’t their best option.

      For us, if Ekblad and Reinhart are gone, I’m beginning to warm up to Draisaitl being the better option between he and Bennet. Bennet seems like more of a shoot 1st centeman, much like Monahan showed this year. Draisaitl seems more of a play maker which would give our 2 top lines different looks.

      Either way, we get a good player.

  • BurningSensation

    Great interview Christian!

    Of the top five players; Dal Colle, Bennett, Ekblad, Draisatl, and Reinhart, I wouldn’t be dissapointed with any of them.

    No matter how it cuts, Calgary should be getting a really nice player to add to the core.

  • aloudoun

    I know Gio had a huge year for use and is a good captain but this team won’t compete again until he is past his prime, I remember people saying should have trade Iggy the last time he scored north of 40 goals but everyone was too scared if Gio will only regress( maybe only slowly) but this was his last top year then would anyone think a deal for 1st overall involving Gio is that crazy?

    • aloudoun

      Selling Gio now would be selling high. But we have to keep him. We are so fortunate that Brodie who was what a 3rd or 4th rounder has turned out to be a real good player & has embraced a 1-2 dman slot. His recognition league wide is coming. Gio is already there. The bottom 3-6 dmen are really hit miss. We need Gio to give the back end credibility & leadership for all the new young dmen that are about to cut their teeth in the league. His value in that capacity is something we cant get back in a return. We need him, even if he got us Ekblad, we need Gio. By the time Gio regresses, we will hopefully have at least 2 very good young dmen establishing themselves Brodie style.

  • Lordmork

    I’m hoping for Bennett as well. I think aside from any trades mucking things up, Buffalo is the only team than can/could screw us up and take him.

    I think FLA takes Ekblad and EDM takes Draisaitl…. so if I had to put money on it I’d say we end up with Reinhart or Bennett.

  • T&A4Flames

    If I were the GM for the Calgary Flames, I would make a phone call up to Edmonton and ask if they were interested in moving their first pick in the 2014 draft ( 3rd.) plus either
    Sam Gagner or Nail Yakupov for Dennis Wideman,
    Chris Buttler.s rights and Sven Baertschi.If they want another D thrown in, we keep Sven and
    give them Russel or another active D from the
    NHL roster, keeping in mind we want to hang on to Brodie.

    Edmonton really improves their defence and gets a reat player in return for Gagner whom they have been trying to move.

    With their 3rd. I would take either Bennet or
    Reinhart. Both really good kids. With our pick, I would take Alex Tuch a big right winger
    who has skill to burn. Others might say you have to take Jake Virtanen. Either way you are a winner. With the 34th. pick, we take the best D man on the board. From there on in, it’s
    the best player on the board for the final picks we have. The scouts have done a great job
    for the last two years and we have to trust their judgement.

    Do you think the Oilers would like this deal?

  • Byron Bader

    So…just from the perspective of developing a “heavy” team it’s a huge longshot but if the Flames were able to acquire Ekblad then from strictly a size perspective the Top 10 defence could look like this over the next 2 years based on current known players & prospects:

    – 4 guys at 6’3″-6’7″ – Ekblad, Smid, Kanzig, Breen (plus Roy)
    – 5 guys at 6’0″-6’2″ – Giordano, Brodie, Wideman, Wotherspoon, Butler (plus Culkin, Kulak)
    – 1 guy

  • piscera.infada

    Edit…I used a “less than” symbol…am thinking this is why the post was garbled a couple times…?

    Anyway last comment above was

    – 1 guy at under 6’0″ – Russell

    Overall the size of the D continues to increase as new players come on board. Skating continues to be the biggest concern for many large-body players.

    Nice to see half the defenders of very large size (6’4″-6’7″) who can then be paired with smaller more mobile (offensive, puck-moving?) defenders.

    Would be great to draft a few additional large Defenders in later rounds to fill out the prospect pool, and then develop them over the next 3-5 years. Perhaps we can develop late rounders or undrafted like Gio, Girardi, Muzzin or Mitchell.

  • RedMan

    OK, I have to admit… my idea of moving Brodie was not well thought out and is just basically a dumb idea. Nuff said. 🙂

    I personally don’t think the Flames have the chips needed to get the deal done. at least, not that they are willing to trade.

  • RedMan

    Have the Islanders decided if they are going to give up their 5 overall pick to Buffalo?

    If they send it Buffalo would have second and fifth, would they be interested in trading either?


  • T&A4Flames

    I think the difference between Gio now and Iginla then is that the Flames had nothing back then. Absolutely SFA. Now, the Flames have a lot of good prospects and the leadership Gio provides (which is 10x more IMO than the previous Captain) is badly needed.

    One of the reasons Ryan Smyth didn’t have a bigger impact on the Oilers is because he was well past his prime. Gio is in his prime. It makes a huge difference when you have a guy telling you “what’s what” and he’s one of, if not the best, players on the team vs. a has-been relating stories about the glory days.

    As for going after the top pick. While I have no doubt Flroida is sincere in moving it, I think they’re looking at something similar to the Seguin deal. A young guy who’s already developed, but his team wants to move him for whatever reason. I don’t think Florida has any interest at all in a Hudler or Glencross. They’re not even close to competing for a Cup. Plus, Glencross would never waive his NTC to go there and even if Florida did want him and you could get him there, how long would he stay? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

    The other point is that there’s a consensus top 4 or 5, but no consensus on which order thoset op 4 or 5 will go in. So how much is it really worth trying to get the 1st overall pick? Ekblad is not rated as highly as Seth Jones was and there’s no MacKinnon. So selling the farm for the 1st overall this year doesn’t seem like a great move to me. Not saying I wouldn’t try and acquire it, but it’s not worth breaking the bank over either.

    • MC Hockey

      Hmmm…what you describe sounds like a perfect Evander Kane plus Winnipeg first-rounder plus defence prospect to Florida for #1 overall. As a Winnipeg-born Jets fan and Flames fan, I like the idea for them, not supportive of Flames doing it with Johnny be Gaud however, maybe a deal with Sven in it

  • T&A4Flames

    Out of curiosity, why are we (FlamesNation commentators) so certain that Edmonton takes Draisaitl? From my basic information, other than his (Draisaitl’s) comment about wanting to play for Edmonton I haven’t heard any quantitative proof. Its been my impression reading at OilersNation that they (the boards, not the Oilers) are quite set on Bennett too.

    I really want Bennett over Draisaitl, I just sometimes feel like there isn’t as much discussion as to what happens if Bennett is taken.

    and to contribute to the discussion…

    @aloudoun the problem with the players you listed is that they really aren’t desired around the league (GlenX was hurt most of season hard to evaluate, Wideman struggled after his injury, Smid is meh, and the outside of Hudler the others are good-average third and fourth line players). To get value you have to trade value, if you aren’t comfortable with trading a Giordano, Brodie or Backlund (which I’m not) then don’t expect to receive much of a return.

    • piscera.infada

      The Draisaitl assumption comes from comments by Oilers’ brass. It’s somewhat widely reported they are very high on him, he also fills an organizational need – big, strong centre. The general thought is that Bennett is more of the same (Nuge, Gagner). The only people who truly know who they’ll take is MacTavish et al., but it seems like Draisaitl is the guy, even if Ekblad is there.

      I vastly prefer Bennett to Ekblad and Draisaitl, but the simple truth is that I’m very happy with any of the top-5. It just seems (to my eye at least) that Bennett has that “it factor”. Just me though.

      • aloudoun

        I agree totally with this. I would also be happy if the Flames end up with Driasitl however Bennett is my top choice. I obviously have no training in evaluating talent and have never seem him play live. I’ve only seen Driasitl play once. He was great in that game. He was always involved in the play and made a few excellent passes. I just like what Bennett brings more. Either way the Flames are getting an excellent player.

      • aloudoun

        Thanks for the clear answer! I always wonder if drafting for need should take president over BPA, although I suppose it couldn’t hurt in Edmonton’s position. Ironically I think Bennett plays more of the gritty style game they need opposed to Draisaitl.

        Next question, although this one isn’t easily answered, do you bring up this years draft pick of leave them in the CHL?

        A question better answered during the training camp and pre-season for the Flames, although I think its an interesting question to speculate on.

  • piscera.infada

    I can’t believe that there are people suggesting we trade either Brodie or Gio to try and get the first, what do you want us to be; the Oilers.

    Trading either of these two in order to get Ekbald whom many consider not to be as good as Seth Jones would be a mistake. He may be the next greta defender but he may be another Dion P and I would take either Gio or Brodie over that chance.IMO Gio is a better captain and had by far the better season and Brodie is almost as good and is significantly younger. Again if we can swing a trade for some of our veteran forwards or one that includes Wides.Russell or Schmid I would be okay with it but leave these two alone as well as our top prospects.

  • Byron Bader


    So…just from the perspective of developing a “heavy” team it’s a huge longshot but if the Flames were able to acquire Ekblad then from strictly a size perspective the Top 10 defence could look like this over the next 2 years based on current known players & prospects:

    – 4 guys at 6’3″-6’7″ – Ekblad, Smid, Kanzig, Breen (plus Roy)

    – 5 guys at 6’0″-6’2″ – Giordano, Brodie, Wideman, Wotherspoon, Butler (plus Culkin, Kulak)

    – 1 guy at

  • aloudoun

    I think Gio is very valuable in the rebuild. He can relate to everyone in the room. He was never drafted, then up and down during his AHL and NHL career for awhile, then went to Russia, and came back to a team that didn’t want him only to eventually become the captain and best player. Who can’t he relate to in the room? Anyone from first time call ups, rookies, players sent down after all hype (Sven), nhl vets and regulars.
    I say we stick with drafting 4th and not give up the farm. Although I think there might be a trade to be had for whoever drafts Reinhart. Send them his brother for something?
    But having said all that I wouldn’t be opposed to trading GlenX, Stajan, Hudler, Wideman, Smid, Galliardi, or Byron.