The rumors would not go away about the Florida Panthers desire to trade the No. 1 pick in a draft class that did not feature a clear-cut option at the top. After a few rumblings that the pick could be moved, possibly to the Vancouver Canucks, Dale Tallon and the Panthers drafted Aaron Ekblad.
Ekblad is a 6-4, 216-pound defenseman from the OHL who last played for Barrie. He has been the consensus top player at his position throughout the predraft process in a draft that is top-heavy with forwards which had Tallon intrigued, but not enough to pass on Ekblad.
Possessing a skill-set of a potential elite NHL defenseman, Ekblad has been a dominating force with his imposing size and physical nature on the blue line, but he’s more than a big body as his offensive game is blossoming.
GIF courtesy: @Myregularface
“He’s smart and an excellent all-round skater for his size. He handles and distributes the puck well in all zones, passes with authority and possesses an accurate shot from the point.”
He is a powerful skater with strong puck-moving skills and possessed excellent vision from the point which could make him a valuable offensive force, especially on the power play with his heavy shot and high hockey IQ.His favorite player is Nicklas Lidstrom so if he has one-tenth the career of Lidstrom, the Panthers will a great player on their hands.
Defenseman typically take a little longer to develop than their offensive counterparts, but the floor for Ekblad would appear to that of an an All-Star with a couple years of development.
He had 23 goals and 53 points in 58 games for Barrie last year.