NHL Draft Prospect Profile #59: Nick Ebert
Drafted 211th Overall by the Los Angeles Kings.
Nick Ebert entered the season as a near consensus top 5 ranked prospect. The young Ebert was expected to take over the role of blue line leader for the Windsor Spitfires and was supposed to improve on his very good rookie season in the OHL. However the expectations were never met. Ebert’s season didn’t get off to a good start when a hand injury forced him to miss out on his chance to play for the United States at the summer Ivan Hlinka tournament. When he healed up and returned to Windsor, it quickly became clear that Ebert was just not improving over his rookie year. Numerous questions began to surface, and Ebert’s rankings began to plummet. This has been a season long problem for Ebert, even if he did manage to make some adjustments in the 2nd half that helped his game, he’s still one of the biggest fallers on draft boards.
Born May 11 1994 — Livingston, NJ
Height 6.01 — Weight 195 — Shoots Right
Ebert has all the physical tools to be a top defenceman. He is an excellent skater with very good top end speed and quick acceleration. He makes quick strong pivots and is agile, allowing him to change directions quickly and efficiently. He is abile to join the rush and then recover quickly back to his defensive assignment.
In the offensive zone, he has a great point shot, an absolute bomb of a slapshot. However he lacks the patience to look for or create shooting lanes which causes his shot to be blocked far too often, and reduces his effectiveness. He is able to make crisp passes but often lacks the vision to make them to the right person. He also has good stickhandling ability which he often shows off the rush, however poor decision making often means that Ebert makes 1 to many moves and takes away his own options.
Ebert’s defensive play this season has been very uninspired. He has good nights, and he has absolutely awful nights where he is beaten on his defensive assignments, where he starts running around chasing the puck, and where instead of playing physical he tires an ineffective stick check on his opponents all night. Ebert is a strong defenceman who is capable of taking the body. However he does not do this often enough defensively and he seems to lose far too many board battles. There have been questions about his commitment level and intensity. It has been a frustrating season for his coaches in Windsor and has been equally perplexing to scouts and observers.
We view Nick Ebert as a serious boom or bust prospect. He’s got the skating prowess, the offensive and defensive skills, and the size that NHL teams look for in a defenceman. However serious questions remain about his hockey sense, his intensity and his consistency, and these seriously hamper his draft stock and make him a high risk pick. If Ebert can fulfill his potential we’d place his ceiling as being similar to Bryan McCabe in his prime.
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