We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.
Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
Username or EmailPassword

Panthers choose defenceman Aaron Ekblad first in NHL draft but make him sweat

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 7:25 PM / News

The Canadian Press

Share with your Friends

Panthers choose defenceman Aaron Ekblad first in NHL draft but make him sweat

PHILADELPHIA - The Florida Panthers have chosen defenceman Aaron Ekblad first overall in tonight's NHL Entry Draft, electing to take the big Barrie Colt rather than trade the pick.

The 18-year-old from Belle River, Ont., is seen as a potential franchise defenceman who is ahead of many of his fellow juniors in terms of size, strength and maturity.

Ekblad had 23 goals, 30 assists and 91 penalty minutes in 58 games last season.

The six-foot-three 216-pound blue-liner was granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada to enter the Ontario Hockey League at age 15.

Ekblad was ranked second among draft prospects by the International Scouting Services, which had Kootenay centre Sam Reinhart No. 1. NHL's Central Scouting had him No. 2 behind Kingston centre Samuel Bennett.

The last defenceman to go first overall was Erik Johnson, who was taken by St. Louis in 2006.

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres