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Florida Panthers select defenceman Aaron Ekblad with No. 1 pick in NHL draft

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 7:45 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Florida Panthers select defenceman Aaron Ekblad with No. 1 pick in NHL draft

PHILADELPHIA - The Florida Panthers have selected defenceman Aaron Ekblad with the first pick in the NHL draft.

The 6-foot-4, 214-pound Ekblad played for Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League. He is the first defenceman to go No. 1 since St. Louis took Erik Johnson in 2006.

Without a clear cut No. 1, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon was open to trading the pick. In the end, he decided to take the 18-year-old defenceman with the first selection at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Panthers had a top-three pick in the NHL draft for the fourth time in the past five years. The first three — defenceman Erik Gudbranson (in 2010), wing Jonathan Huberdeau (2011) and centre Aleksander Barkov (2013) — all played significant roles last season.

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I think everyone left it out there. Every game this season, regular season and playoffs, we played as hard as we could. We're not out of the playoffs right now because of lack of effort, and that's all that we can ask of each other.

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