Goldipucks and the Three Skaters: Ekblad, Hall, & Smith

Rick Roos


Welcome back to your monthly installment of Goldipucks and the Three Skaters, which, for new readers, is a play on words of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Here though, instead of there being three bowls of porridge I cover three skaters and declare one too hot (i.e., doing unsustainably better than he should), another too cold (i.e., doing unsustainably worse), and a third “just right” (i.e., producing where he should be). I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating just how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), or how cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or how “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.


Our focus this week is Aaron Ekblad, and Taylor Hall, and Reilly Smith. Pause here to think about who was too hot, who was too cold, and which of the three was just right, and then read on to find out if you went three for three on your guesses.


Aaron Ekblad

As an 18-year-old, and coming off being the number one overall pick in that season's draft, Ekblad posted 39 points, which, before Rasmus Dahlin triumphantly arrived on the scene in 2018-19, was the highest rookie output for any 18-year-old in 30 years! What did Ekblad do from there? Very little. Three seasons he ended up with between 36 and 38 points and he entered 2019-20 as a five-year veteran whom many poolies were concerned might follow a disappointing trajectory resembling that of another former #1 overall pick in Erik Johnson. Yet in 2019-20 Ekblad posted a career-best of 41 points, and in only 67 contests, for a 50 point full season scoring pace. Still, just 24, have the scoring floodgates started to open for Ekblad? Most likely not; but he has probably found his new normal.

Notably Ekblad's shooting percentage this season was only 3.4%, suggesting he should've had about five more goals than he did. Yet his SOG rate was almost identical to what it was in 2018-19 and 2017-18 when he scored 37 and 38 points and shot higher than his career average. And it's not like he was taking higher quality shots either, as his total SOG in the range of 0-30 feet were roughly equal to t