Sep 3, 2014, 11:02 AM EST
On Wednesday, Aaron Ekblad — the No. 1 selection at this June’s draft — took a major step towards beginning his NHL career by signing a three-year, entry-level contract with Florida.
“We are very pleased to have signed Aaron,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said in a statement. “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.”
Financial terms of the deal weren’t released but Ekblad, 18, is limited by the CBA for what he can earn annually (last year’s top pick, Nathan MacKinnon, had a $925,000 cap hit but made $3.775M with signing and performance bonuses.)
As for his spot with the Panthers…Ekblad looks to be in line for a top-6 spot next to Brian Campbell, Willie Mitchell, Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson and Dylan Olsen. That said, he will be challenged by a pair of fellow youngsters (Colby Robak and Alex Petrovic), and there are reports claiming veteran d-man Shane O’Brien is headed to Florida’s training camp on a PTO.
It’s also worth noting that, as per Tallon’s statement above, Ekblad will participate in both Florida’s prospects and full training camp, meaning he’s cleared to play after suffering a concussion in an exhibition game on Aug. 4 during Canada’s world junior summer development camp.
- Video: Bartkowski delivers controversial hit to Gionta, fights Foligno 3
- Giroux line takes Leafs ‘to school’ in Flyers’ 7-4 victory 17
- Wolverine Pacioretty gets two assists just two days after being hospitalized 17
- Ovechkin scores beauty as Caps shutout Devils 8
- Seriously? Stress fracture sidelines Columbus’ Jenner for 1-2 months 6
- Julien chides Bruins’ offense for too many cute plays 40
- Sens roll over Ducks, who ‘weren’t ready’ 11
- Flyers’ Mason tweaked back, will miss weekend games 10
- Gordie Howe makes ‘amazing’ recovery following stem cell treatment in Mexico 15
- Video: Penguins’ spoof of ‘Christmas Vacation’ is pretty good 18