Got this e-mail this morning:
This is Greg from the Blackhawks blog "Windy City Hockey". There isn't a wealth of information about Andrew Ebbett on the net, so I wanted to ask you what your impressions of him are. How was he used is Anaheim? What are his strengths and weaknesses? With his size, does he get muscled off the puck a lot? From his stats, it seems like he took a fair amount of penalties. Any info would be of great help.
I sent this reply, noble blogger that I am:
Hm, little man Ebbett, eh?
Ebbett was used last year in Anaheim for two main reasons -- (1) UFA acquisition Brendan Morrison was a bust centering Teemu Selanne on a second line behind Getzlaf, and (2) because he was dirt-cheap, the lowest cap hit on the team, at a time when the Ducks were scraping the salary ceiling. For the second reason, I'd assume we'll see him in a Blackhawks jersey for stretches this season also. Once he did join the big-league team, he was useful as a second-line pivot with Selanne (think "Andy McDonald Lite"), and especially down the stretch when the Ducks needed wins to make the postseason, he was productive, though that may have also just been Selanne getting serious.
Strengths are speed and courage, weaknesses are clearly size and a not-truly-all-star set of hands. He may not be stellar at faceoffs, either. He has to play in soft minutes (not the top line that sees the opponent's best checkers, nor the stopper line that sees the opponent's best scorers) and isn't terribly productive on special teams, and that's why he was waived in Anaheim -- once Saku Koivu was signed and Joffrey Lupul was acquired, there wasn't room for Ebbett in the top six, and he couldn't really play a bottom-six role -- Ducks need penalty-killers in those slots, and Ebbett was the odd man out.
I'm not too sure about your questions about being outmuscled or taking too many penalties -- seems Ebbett battled hard enough that contact wasn't too much an issue, and he didn't stand out in my mind as a penalty machine. Then again, it's the Ducks -- everyone takes too many penalties here, so it's probably easy to fly under that radar.
Still, what do you want for league minimum? The guy is serviceable, and will probably perform as well as his linemates do. He is a UFA at the end of the season, plus the Ducks have no AHL affiliate this season, so I think once he failed to crack Anaheim's lineup, waiving Ebbett was a way to give him an opportunity. I'm honestly surprised he fell so far in the waiver order to Chicago -- he may not make a huge impact there, but as a salary cap mechanism, Ebbett will be useful.
Two pieces I wrote on Ebbett, specifically on the thinking behind the waiver move, less focused on his play:
From this past summer: Season Review: Andrew Ebbett -- Odd Man Out?
From this past weekend: Ducks Gameday -- Waiving Goodbye to Andrew Ebbett?
Hope that helps,
Not terribly inspiring, but hey, been a while since we had a fanpost. Feel free to add your thoughts or dispute anything in this Andrew Ebbett scouting report in the comments. Gameday post coming tomorrow.