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Panther sign No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad; defenceman gets 3-year deal

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 10:55 AM / News

The Canadian Press

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Panther sign No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad; defenceman gets 3-year deal

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers and No. 1 overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad have agreed on a three-year entry-level contract.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon announced the deal Wednesday, eight days before Ekblad will begin competing at Florida's annual camp for prospects. Ekblad was the Ontario Hockey League's top defenceman last season, with 23 goals and 53 points.

Tallon says Ekblad "is a talented, strong, smart and hardworking defenceman who is ready to take the next step."

Ekblad also attended Hockey Canada's world junior summer development camp last month, his stay there ending early because of a concussion. Ekblad was held out of the rest of that camp for precautionary reasons.

Florida's prospects camp begins a week before the start of Panthers' training camp, the first under new coach Gerard Gallant.

Quote of the Day

For us it's a little bit different. I've never been in front of this much media. This is more than we've ever had to deal with in Tampa. I guess we're on a little bit bigger stage now. It's nice, you have to enjoy it. This doesn't happen too often.

— Lightning forward J.T. Brown after his first Media Day experience on Tuesday in preparation of Game 1 on Wednesday