After a crazy draft day that saw rumor after rumor pop up about the potential trade of the first overall pick, the Florida Panthers utlimately decided that no offer was good enough to move out of that spot, and with the pick they took Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
Ekblad was granted ‘exceptional status’ by the Canadian Hockey League and allowed to play junior hockey a year early and has not disappointed since then. This most recent season saw the 18-year old blue liner score 53-points (23 G, 30 A) and was apart of team Canada for the World Junior Hockey Championships.
At 6’3″ and plenty filled out (in between 213-220), Ekblad has been called one of the most physically mature player to come out the draft in years, and Dale Tallon didn’t shy away from taking a defenseman with the first pick – despite the ever known risk.
He will now join a great young defensive group in Florida with the likes of Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov and having players like Mike Matheson and Ian McCoshen in the minors – one of the reasons Ekblad wanted to come to Florida.