Aaron Ekblad
Image: Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Aaron Ekblad

Hometown:

Belle River Ontario

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1996-02-07

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2014

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2014

Height:

6-4

Acquired:

1st round (1st overall), 2014

Weight:

216 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • B

History

2010-11: Aaron Ekblad skated for the Sun County Panthers midget minor team as a 14-year-old. In 48 midget major games – including 18 playoff contests – he scored 9 goals with 46 assists and had 48 penalty minutes. Sun County captured the Alliance championship. Ekblad was selected first overall by Barrie in the 2011 OHL Priority Draft after being granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada.

2011-12: Ekblad was the leading scorer amongst defensemen for Barrie in his first OHL season and played for Canada Ontario in the 2012 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 10 goals with 19 assists in 63 OHL games and was -5 with 34 penalty minutes. The Colts were second in the Central Division and reached the second round in the playoffs one year after finishing with the league’s worst record. Ekblad scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was -1 with 8 penalty minutes in 13 playoff games. In five games at the WHC he scored 1 goal with 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes as Canada Ontario won the bronze medal.

2012-13: Ekblad was the second-leading scorer amongst Barrie defensemen behind overage 20-year-old Ryan O’Connor in his second season with the Colts. He scored 7 goals with 27 assists and was +29 with 64 penalty minutes in 54 games; playing in just two games in December due to a lower body injury. The Colts finished first in the Central Division and reached the OHL Finals against London. Ekblad scored 7 goals with 10 assists and was +11 with 28 penalty minutes in 22 playoff games. He was the captain of Canada Ontario in the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge; scoring 2 goals with 4 assists and 4 penalty minutes in five games.

2013-14: Ekblad captained Canada’s gold medal-winning U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August before returning to Barrie for his third OHL season and played for Canada’s U20 team at the 2014 World Juniors. A team captain for the Colts, he scored 23 goals, including 16 power play goals, with 30 assists and was +7 with 91 penalty minutes in 58 regular season games. The Colts finished third in the Central Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Ekblad scored 2 goals with 4 assists and was -4 with 14 penalty minutes in nine playoff games. He scored 1 goal with 1 assist and had an even plus/minus with 2 penalty minutes in seven games as Canada finished fourth in the WJC. In five games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament Ekblad was +4 with 2 goals, 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes. He was ranked second amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was select by Florida with the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Talent Analysis

Ekblad has the complete package of size, skating ability and stick handling and passing skill with a maturity beyond his years. He sees the ice well and is adept at defending in his own end while making the players around him better. He made the jump directly from junior hockey to the NHL and has been a key factor in the Panthers' push for a playoff spot in 2014-15.

Future

Ekblad made the jump directly from junior hockey to the NHL in 2014-15 as an 18-year-old and has averaged over 22 minutes of ice time a night for the Panthers as a rookie. Long-term he is expected to be a fixture in the Florida lineup and should only improve as he matures physically, continues to develop his skill set and becomes more familiar with the game at the NHL level.

Detroit Red Wings prospect awards a testament to team depth

by Chris Roberts
on
Photo: Detroit prospect Landon Ferraro showed a nose for the net during the NHL playoffs despite being held scoreless (courtesy of Steven King/Icon Sportswire)

Photo: Detroit prospect Landon Ferraro showed a nose for the net during the NHL playoffs despite being held scoreless (courtesy of Steven King/Icon Sportswire)

Hockey’s Future hands out these awards every season to players who stood out during the course of the season. Several Detroit Red Wings prospects had banner seasons throughout junior, the NCAA and the AHL; others, meanwhile, earned opportunities in Detroit, such as rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen and a group of up-and-coming defensemen.

While no Wings prospects made it to the NCAA Frozen Four, a strong group of prospects had good showings in the CHL playoffs: players like Joe Hicketts, Dominic Turgeon and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Read more»

Winnipeg Jets prospect awards feature formidable reinforcements

by Patrick Allen
on
Connor Hellebuyck - Winnipeg Jets

Photo: Winnipeg Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck headlines a top-notch group of goaltending prospects (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

The Winnipeg Jets defied the odds this season with their never say die mentality, overcoming injury and hardship on their way to edging out the defending Stanley Cup Champions and clinching the franchise’s first playoff appearance since its return to Winnipeg. The return of playoff hockey after its nearly 20 year hiatus from Winnipeg has reignited the burning passion of the fan base, making one thing clear moving forward: simply making the playoffs is not enough anymore.

Read more»

The Top Five single-game performances by NHL prospects in 2014-15

by Craig Fischer
on
Cal Petersen - All-American Prospects Game

Photo: University of Notre Dame goaltender and Buffalo Sabres prospect Cal Petersen, shown here at the 2012 All-American Prospects Game, turned in the top goaltending prospect performance for the 2014-15 season (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A season is not made with one game, but sometimes, one game can define a season, and it can even change the way you think about a prospect. Read more»

Murray and Pouliot among several Pittsburgh Penguins prospects to have big 2014-15 seasons

by Ian Altenbaugh
on
Photo: Derek Pouliot split his season between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, scoring 7 points in 34 games with the big club. (Courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

Photo: Derek Pouliot split his season between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, scoring 7 points in 34 games with the big club. (Courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

Several prospects for the Pittsburgh Penguins had breakout seasons. The most notable was defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot, who established early on that he was capable of handling steady NHL playing time. However, rookie goaltender Matt Murray came in a close second, as he broke several AHL records and looks poised to one day take over the goaltending reins in Pittsburgh. Read more»

Draisaitl, Reinhart the cream of the NHL-drafted center crop in the WHL

by Glen Erickson
on
Leon Draisaitl - Kelowna Rockets

Photo: Kelowna Rockets forward and Edmonton Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl has played in 13 playoff games for the Rockets, scoring six goals and 13 assists while posting a +9 rating (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

There are many different kinds of centers – those who primarily excel offensively and those who contribute in other ways to the success of their respective teams. One of the biggest challenges across major junior hockey is taking into consideration the versatility of many top forwards. It is not uncommon for the best players down the middle to take a few turns on the wing on a regular basis. Read more»

Related Articles