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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, 09.3.2014 / 9:32 AM ET / News
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Florida Panthers Sign No. 1 Overall Draft Pick 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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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