Sep 3, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
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: Filppula, Stamkos score two big goals for Bolts 0
- Report: Blues will stick with Hitchcock ‘barring anything dramatic’ 7
- WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers, Game 5 of Eastern Conference Final 0
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ 28
- Video: ‘It’s not the ideal situation,’ says OT hero Vermette of being a healthy scratch 5
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks 54
- Video: Ducks score three goals in 37 seconds to take third-period lead 9
- WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Blackhawks, Western Conference Final Game 4 0
- Cooper on replacing Bishop: ‘That is asinine to me’ 25
- Vermette, Teravainen return for Blackhawks in Game 4 15
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (174)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Russia to be punished for ‘completely out of order’ actions after Worlds final loss to Canada (91)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)