2012 NHL Draft Scouting Report: Nick Ebert
Ebert has had a bit of a fall from grace this year. Heading into the season Ebert was projected to be a top 10 selection by yours truly, based on his individual skill sets. When I first saw him down in Waterloo of the USHL, he was a player who stood out as one of the top players in the age group, and was an early candidate to be one of the top players drafted in the 2012 NHL Draft. His first year in Windsor he continued to display the upside that we saw in him, putting up some significant offensive totals for a rookie defenceman. At the start of the season, he seemed to be really struggling with his conditioning, and he did not improve on many of his abilities. For the first six months of his season he really struggled with his positional play, as well as his decision-making. He may have been trying to do to much, but also was not in good enough shape to achieve the results that he needed to. In the second half of the season he looked more like the Ebert of old, but the questions have been raised, and he needs to really understand what he struggles with and make it his goal over the next few years to fix them. If he does, then he could get back on track.
There is a lot to like about Nick Ebert. He has high-end offensive abilities, and when he is playing his best, he has the ability to control the game from the back end, skating the puck up the ice and generating offense. He is a strong skater who has above average footwork and acceleration. I really like his first few steps, as he maximizes the power in his legs and is able to separate himself from others. He displays good poise at the point with the puck, and has the ability to make some strong passes under pressure. His puck skills and vision are strong for a player if his age, and again, when he’s focused, he can make some very impressive plays with the puck, both at a standstill and at a higher speed. He has all the tools that you look for in a high end offensive defenceman, but his decisions and hockey intelligence leave me wondering about how well he will adapt to the next level.
Ebert has some work to do with some of his decisions that he makes both with and without the puck. He has the ability to skate the puck into the offensive zone, however once he gains the offensive blue line he struggles with his decision making abilities. He skates the puck into traffic, or will make a poor read of the ice and generate a turnover. He needs to work on his decision-making skills in all three zones. Its not something that is easily fixed, and will have a lot of work to do in the coming years. The other area of his game he needs to address is his positional play in his own zone, playing more intelligent positionally and not chase the puck as much as he has in the past.
Individual skill Rankings (out of 10)
Skill : 8
Hockey Sense: 6
Positional Play: 6.5
Ebert is a bit of a boom or bust type of player. He has all the tools that you look for in a high end offensive defenceman, but has room to grow in both his positional play in his own zone, as well as his intelligence. If he hits his high end potential, he could be a steal, but odds are he becomes a top 4 offensive minded defenceman at the next level.
Ebert is projected as a mid to late second round draft selection, and should be drafted between the 45th and 60th selection in the NHL Draft