Jun 27, 2014, 7:29 PM EDT
PHILADELPHIA — The Florida Panthers are hoping they’ve found their franchise defenseman. The club used its first overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Aaron Ekblad, the big blueliner from the OHL’s Barrie Colts.
Ekblad, 18, becomes the first defenseman since Erik Johnson (2006) to be taken first overall. One of his new Florida teammates, Ed Jovanovski, was also taken with the first pick, in 1994. The most successful defenseman ever taken first overall was Denis Potvin (1973, Islanders).
It’s possible Ekblad slots right into the Panthers’ lineup next season. There are scouts who think he’s NHL-ready, and Florida may also lose Tom Gilbert to free agency.
Ekblad said earlier this month that he tries to model his game after Nicklas Lidstrom.
“He was a pretty special player,” said Ekblad. “Everyone says he’s a great person off the ice, too, and I think that’s pretty important.”
What does it take to be an elite number-one defenseman like Lidstrom was for the Detroit Red Wings?
“Attention to details,” said Ekblad. “Knowing when to be simple, when to jump into the rush and provide offense. Playing good defense first. Being good on the power play and penalty kill. It takes being an all-around, full-package player. A two-way defenseman.”
There was talk the Panthers could trade the first overall pick, but ultimately general manager Dale Tallon walked up to the stage at Wells Fargo Center and announced Ekblad’s name.
Sep 16, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT
“It’s turned the corner for the better as far as rehab has gone.”
Sep 15, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT
It’s tremendous even if it was in a prospects game.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:12 PM EDT
Frank Corrado gets ejected for that check.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT
The team says he has “full movement” following a boarding hit.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT
Some optimism about how his knee is feeling.
Sep 15, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT
Sep 15, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
More training camp invites.
Sep 15, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
He’s reportedly talking to several teams.
Sep 15, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
“I still think something will get done before camp.”
Sep 15, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT
Potentially adding some depth.
Sep 15, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT
Former Kings, Flames netminder lands in an interesting spot.
Sep 15, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT
Veteran guy, but not the righty Mike Babcock was looking for…
Sep 15, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
Because it hasn’t yet decided if it will.
Sep 15, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Also includes a similar series dedicated to the Sharks-Kings outdoor game.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
That’s businessman and former Harvard hockey player, Phil Falcone.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Medvescak Zagreb, which now has a boatload of ex-NHLers.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT
The Wild want the flexibility of a two-way deal, however.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty will all serve as alternates.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT
If you think he might blame coach Dallas Eakins for Edmonton’s struggles in 2013-14, think again.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT
Should be an interesting next few days in New Jersey.
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