Skip to content

Panthers keep first overall pick, select d-man Ekblad

Jun 27, 2014, 7:29 PM EST

Barrie Colts v Ottawa 67's Getty Images

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.

Related: Get to know a draft pick — Aaron Ekblad

Latest Posts
  1. Could Vermette land in Washington?

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:27 AM EST

    Antoine Vermette

    The Caps’ struggles with depth down the middle are well documented…

  2. Pens confirm Maatta has the mumps

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:22 AM EST

    OlliMaatta Getty Images

    Nightmarish campaign for the Finnish defenseman, health-wise.

  3. Capitals send Burakovsky to AHL after keeping him out of World Juniors

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:43 AM EST

    Andre Burakovsky Getty Images

    He’s been a healthy scratch in five of Washington’s last six games.

  4. Islanders set to get Boychuk, Hamonic back

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:55 AM EST

    Johnny Boychuk Getty Images

    New York has gone 3-3-0 in six straight games without either of them.

  5. Pickard’s stellar play hasn’t created a goalie controversy, insists Roy

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:02 AM EST

    Colorado Avalanche v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Although he feels this should serve as “a wake-up call for Berra.”

  6. PHT Morning Skate: 85-year-old aims to set hockey Guinness record

    Dec 19, 2014, 8:02 AM EST

    Don VanMassenhoven AP

    The picture is of former referee Don Van Massenhoven, who will serve as the event’s recorder.

  7. Make it six in a row: The losing continues for the Oilers

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:10 AM EST

    Chris Tierney, Andrew Ference AP

    But they did score more than two goals in a game for first time since Nov. 28.

  8. Flyers’ Giroux bites the jersey of Gudbranson

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:35 AM EST

    Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 6.45.05 PM

    Because everyone likes a snack before they line up for a faceoff, right?

  9. Panthers need only six rounds to defeat Flyers in shootout

    Dec 18, 2014, 10:52 PM EST

    Roberto Luongo Getty Images

    And Roberto Luongo’s victory ties him for 12th on the all-time list.

  10. Crosby back for Pens after missing three games with the mumps

    Dec 18, 2014, 6:39 PM EST

    Sidney Crosby AP

    He’ll be in the lineup when Pittsburgh takes on the Avs at home.

Featured video

More than a Stanley Cup hangover?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (4339)
  2. B. Bishop (2923)
  3. D. Krejci (2778)
  4. C. Crawford (2406)
  5. C. Kunitz (2254)
  1. O. Palat (1979)
  2. C. Perry (1954)
  3. B. Elliott (1873)
  4. T. Oshie (1739)
  5. T. Hall (1543)