Photo: Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad was the first pick of the Florida Panthers at the 2014 NHL Draft, as well as the first selection overall (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
Growing up in Windsor, ON, just across the river from Detroit, Aaron Ekblad followed the Detroit Red Wings as a child. He attributes watching Nicklas Lidstrom as the reason he wears the number five today. Read more»
Photo: The Buffalo Sabres added to their already deep draft pool with nine selections at the 2014 NHL Draft, including first round pick Sam Reinhart (L) and second round selection Brandon Lemieux (R) (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL's Western Conference currently has the bragging rights to league supremacy as a a result of the Los Angeles Kings five-game Stanley Cup final win over the New York Rangers. While the results from the 2014 NHL Draft may not alter the current lock the West has on the NHL's most prized trophy, at least one team in the Eastern Conference might be offering a ray of hope for the future.
Photo: The Florida Panthers selected center Aleksander Barkov second overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Barkov was solid in his NHL rookie season, managing eight goals and 16 assists in 54 games. (courtesy of Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Florida Panthers head into the 2014 NHL Draft with the first overall pick. While Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is noncommittal about trading the pick, he will listen to offers that are presented.
Photo: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (left) and forwards Sam Reinhart (center) and Sam Bennett (right) will learn where they begin their professional careers at the 2014 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images and Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Now that the Los Angeles Kings have hoisted their second Stanley Cup in three years, the hockey world can now focus on the 2014 NHL Draft that will take place on June 27th and 28th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Speedy forward Quinton Howden was one of several Florida Panthers prospects to spend some time in the NHL during the 2013-14 season. Howden was the 25th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Opportunities for prospects in the Florida Panthers system were omnipresent during the 2013-14 season. Whether those opportunities came in the form of the NCAA tournament, professional hockey debuts, or calls to the NHL, several hungry young prospects distinguished themselves by their play, effort and skills.