Nick Ebert The Forgotten Man - OHL's Draft Eligible Players
Wt: 195 LBS
D.O.B. May 11, 1994
Position: Defence – Shoots right
After a very strong season last year, Ebert came into this season as a highly touted defenseman who many considered to be a possible top 10 pick. Heck, even yours truly had him ranked second behind Yakupov in the OHL prior to the puck drop this season.
So what went wrong, or in this case slow?
The Ryan Ellis factor. Some believe that the loss of Ellis put too much pressure on Ebert and he tried to do too much. In reality, that’s two different arguments. Firstly, isn’t being able to handle the pressure one of the things you look at when trying to draft a young player? And while Ebert has turned things around lately, most of that has come once the pressure has been turned down a notch. Secondly, Ebert is an intelligent hockey player, one that knows how to use his teammates around him. If he played to his strengths and used his smarts, he would have used his teammates more, something he is doing again.
There are questions about his off season preparation and work ethic. While it may be a closely guarded secret in some circles, usually where there’s smoke there is fire. If conditioning was part of the problem, the stats lend some credence to that. In his first 29 games, Ebert had 0 goals and 12 assists. Compare that to his last 29 games where he had 4 goals and 16 assists. The down side to that is that he was a plus 3 in the first 29 games and is a minus 7 in his last 29 games. But how much of that was due to the Jack Campbell effect?
So, has he become more consistent? You be the judge: Through his first 29 games, Ebert had 18 games without registering a point and was a minus player in 7 of those games and had just 1 multi point game. Through his last 29 games he had 15 games without registering a point and 12 minus games along with 5 multi point games.
Ebert has all the tools necessary to be successful. The problem here is you can dissect stats any which way you want to make your case. If you haven’t watched him play to notice what the difference is then it is difficult to form a solid opinion just based on stats. And quite simply, one word describes the difference: Confidence. He is playing with much more of it in the second half than he has in the first and it is showing on the ice.
If you buy into the conditioning theory, and quite honestly the eyes speak for themselves, then an NHL team will have to believe they can rectify that problem and take a chance on it. You can’t leave a player of his talent sitting through to the end of two rounds of the draft in Pittsburgh.