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Florida Panthers Sign No. 1 Overall Draft Pick D Aaron Ekblad

Ekblad to Report to Prospects Camp on Sept. 11 in South Florida

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 9:32 AM / News
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Florida Panthers Sign No. 1 Overall Draft Pick D Aaron Ekblad
The club has agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with D Aaron Ekblad.

Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with D Aaron Ekblad.

“We are very pleased to have signed Aaron,” said Tallon. “He is a talented, strong, smart and hardworking defenseman who is ready to take the next step in his professional career. We look forward to watching him compete and develop at our prospects camp, throughout our main training camp and in preseason competition.”

Ekblad, 18, was selected by Florida with the first overall choice in the 2014 NHL Draft. He was named the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) most outstanding defenseman during the 2013-2014 season, ranking first among the league’s blueliners with 23 goals and tied for fifth with 53 points (23-30-53). The 6-foot-3, 213-pound defenseman became just the third player in his 18-year-old birth year to earn the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman honor in the past 20 years, following Ryan Ellis (selected 11th overall by Nashville in 2009) and Bryan Berard (selected 1st overall by Ottawa in 1995). He also served as Barrie’s team captain.

The Belle River, Ontario, native played a top-four role as a 17-year-old for Team Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship, registering two points (1-1-2) in seven games. On the international level, Ekblad captained Team Canada to the 2013 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial gold medal. He also served as captain of Team Ontario at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Earlier this month, Ekblad also attended Hockey Canada’s world junior summer development camp.

Ekblad was granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada to be eligible for the 2011 OHL Priority Selection as a 15-year-old. He was just the second player in OHL history to be given exceptional player status, following John Tavares in 2005. In his rookie season with Barrie, he recorded 29 points (10-19-29) in 63 games, earning OHL Rookie of the Year honors.

Florida opens prospects camp on Thursday, September 11, with medical and physical testing at BB&T Center. The only on-ice practice session in South Florida will take place on Friday, September 12, from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., at the JetBlue Training Facility at the Panthers IceDen. The Panthers prospects will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, for a four-team tournament (Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning) that will take place from September 13-16 at Ford Ice Center.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 61 21 15 -9 36
J. Huberdeau 58 9 24 4 33
A. Ekblad 61 9 23 6 32
J. Jokinen 60 6 25 -3 31
B. Boyes 59 10 18 6 28
J. Hayes 52 17 10 -5 27
A. Barkov 50 9 12 -4 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
B. Campbell 61 3 17 1 20
D. Bolland 37 3 13 2 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 22 16 11 .921 2.38
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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