CALGARY, AB - Aaron Ekblad of the OHL’s Barrie Colts is currently ranked number three in the NHL Central Scouting Service Draft Rankings. Ekblad was selected first overall in the 2011 OHL draft to the Colts.
The 6’4” 216 pound defenceman ended his first season with the OHL Barrie Colts with 10 goals and 19 assists, equaling 29 points in 63 games. He ended the 2012-13 season with seven goals and 27 assists totalling 34 points in 54 games.
Ekblad already has already doubled the number of goals from last season to this season with 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in 31 games. Despite the increase in goals and points, Ekblad finds himself only third in the CSS mid-season draft rankings but doesn’t let that get to him.
“You could rate me one, two or 10, it is what it is. I think the most important thing is winning games with your team in the CHL or playing big in teams, you know if you have team success, individual success will come quickly after that. So I’m not worried about that, it is what it is and I’ll just keep working hard and doing the things I like to do.”
He was named captain of Team Orr for the BMO CHL Top Prospects game on January 15, 2014 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB, and Ekblad is no stranger to being a captain. He served as captain for the Ivan Hlinka U-18 tournament and was named captain of the Barrie Colts at the beginning of the season.
The Top Prospects game is a game that Ekblad was given an opportunity to watch as a young kid.
“The first time I ever heard of this game was it was in Windsor and my entire minor midget team actually got to go see it and I got to see guys like Nino Niederreiter when he made that little backhand, one handed backhand into the top corner which is pretty special.”
In past interviews, Ekblad has said that one of his goals this week is to shut down opposing captain Sam Reinhart, making sure Reinhart doesn’t score.
Ekblad took the reins of captaincy from Sam Reinhart for the Ivan Hlinka tournament, leading Team Canada to gold for the U-18 team.
Many of the prospects of the CHL Top Prospects Game are dealing with a lot of time changes since some played in the IIHF World Juniors in Malmo Sweden.
“It’s a quick turnaround, maybe a little bit of time change from Sweden to Barrie to Calgary but it is what it is. You got to battle through it like anything else.”
With all the scouts and GMs attending Wednesday’s game, Ekblad finds that the best way to deal with this kind of game is to stay positive and have a good attitude.
“I mean that’s every game, that’s every shift out there on the ice, you just got to come out with the right attitude and stay positive through all situations.”