’s roots in hockey run deep, and now those roots run through South Florida and the Panthers.
Ellerby, a 6-4 defenseman from the Western Hockey League who plays with an edge, was selected Friday evening as the Panthers’ No. 1 pick in the NHL Entry Draft at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Ellerby, the 10th overall selection at the draft, is a “defensive defenseman who’s a strong skater,” said the Panthers’ director of scouting Scott Luce.
“He needs to add weight, but he’s got very good puck skills and he has a bit of a mean streak,” he added.
He’s also a guy the Panthers wanted. In fact, in what was considered a wide-open draft, Ellerby was one of a handful of players who topped Luce’s list. Ellerby hugged friends and family when his name was announced and was introduced to Luce and GM and coach Jacques Martin on the podium of Nationwide Arena.
Ellerby, who had 25 points for Kamloops last year and 120 penalty minutes, has a family history in hockey. His father, Cal, played for the Calgary Wranglers of the Western Hockey League while his uncle, Dallas, played for junior teams in Calgary and Edmonton.
That’s not all. His father’s cousin Jerry Price was drafted by Philadelphia, his mother’s uncle Bernie Doan was drafted by St. Louis, and his cousin Shane – well, you might know Shane Doan as the captain of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Ellerby, who completed his third season with Kamloops in the Western Hockey League, finished the year ranked as the No. 4 North American skater by Central Scouting, who called him a “playmaking offensive defenseman that finishes his checks well.”
“A good skater with great mobility,” Central Scouting added. “A good active stick and uses his reach effectively. Handles the puck well and is a heads-up player.”
Ironically, Ellerby said he patterns his game after Panther defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and Anaheim’s Chris Pronger. “He’s a naturally gifted skater, and that’s what sets him apart,” Luce said.
A native of Strathmore, Alberta, Ellerby won the hardest shot competition at the 2007 Top Prospects Game with a shot registering 95.6 mph. He lists Johnny Depp and Denzel Washington as his favorite actors and Blow and Talladega Nights as his favorite movies.