Following the draft lottery, TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button released his mock draft. Button had Barrie Colts defenceman going number one overall to Florida and Sam Reinhart of Kootenay going to Buffalo at two.
For Button, there is no way Florida passes up on Ekblad.
“I don’t see a way,” Button said to Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now today. “Every organization can say they have defencemen. I even heard (Oilers Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations) Scott Howson talk about some of the players in the Edmonton Oilers system. They don’t have an Aaron Ekblad. Don’t tell me you’ve got defencemen and you’ve got left wingers and you’ve got centres. You don’t have an Aaron Ekblad and nor do the Florida Panthers. The key thing here is you get a player that can be a pillar defenceman and to me there is no way they should even be thinking about not drafting Aaron Ekblad.”
Button says Ekblad is the kind of defenceman that you can build your team around.
“I think Ekblad is a pillar defenceman. I think he’s that guy that can play in your top two, can play in your top pair and I think the top-three defencemen… When I call guys a pillar defenceman, that’s a one, two or a three. One and a two can anchor a pair and a number three can anchor a pair and that’s what Ekblad is. He’s got too much going for him, he’s smart, he’s cagey, he’s competitive and there’s not an area of the game that he doesn’t excel in.”
In the third spot, Button says Prince Albert Raiders centre Leon Draisaitl is the pick.