Defenseman Aaron Ekblad completed his third season with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-3, 216-pound right-hand shot is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft. He was named the OHL defenseman of the year after finishing with career highs in goals (23), assists (30), power-play goals (16), points (53) and penalty minutes (91). He earned first-place finishes for best shot, hardest shot, best offensive defenseman and best defensive defenseman in the OHL Eastern Conference in 2013-14. Ekblad has offered to maintain a blog leading up to the 2014 draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Hello, hockey fans!
Aaron Ekblad here from the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto.
I can honestly say the most difficult part has been waking up in the early morning. The days have been long during the interview process, but I've been talking with many different, interesting people. It's basically been a job interview for 20 minutes; it's been a lot of fun. A lot of the teams are pretty laid back, and it's mostly conversation about some of the players and your family background.
The scouts and general managers have touched on a bunch of different topics. They asked me if I'm ready to play in the NHL and if I think I am and what it takes and that kind of information.
The fitness testing is coming up pretty quick. My teammate in Barrie, Brendan Lemieux, and me got into the weight room and attempted a few pushups and do some exercises that we might see. We've been stretching out a lot to make sure we're ready.
One solid moment this week occurred when I not only beat Brendan once, but twice, in ping pong; once for TSN and another for NHL Network. Both scores were actually very close, but I did win both matches. I made him very angry and I was very happy about that (laughing).
Most of the guys I pass by in the elevators or in the halls are my friends. I've played with and against these guys my whole OHL and CHL career, and with Hockey Canada, so it's good to catch up and talk to and see a lot of the guys I haven't seen in a long time. It'll be a challenge going up against them at the NHL Combine. I know everyone is out to do their best.
That's it for now. I'll post one more blog after my fitness test Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Follow Aaron Ekblad on Twitter at: @EK5Colts