We are getting closer to the 2014 NHL Draft. Over the upcoming weeks, we are going to look at some of the top prospects that the 2014 NHL Draft has to offer, and what they will bring to the team that drafts them.
Player: Aaron Ekblad
Weight: 216 lbs.
Date Of Birth: February 7, 1996
Hometown: Belle River, Ontario, Canada
Current Team: Barrie Colts (Ontario Hockey League)
Jersey Number: 5
Projected Pick: Top 2
Aaron Ekblad is the best defenseman in the 2014 NHL Draft. He’s a big, gifted defenseman that can move the puck and quarterback a power play. At 6-foot-3, 216 lbs, he has physically dominated the OHL. He is nearly at a point-per-game in the OHL with 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 29 games with the Barrie Colts and is the captain of the team. Ekblad was the OHL Rookie of the Year following his rookie season in 2011-2012.
“I think GMs are also looking for a guy who will jump into the rush and score goals, so versatility is a big thing. I’m sure that’s what they look for; every so often you have to throw your weight around too. But obviously being steady and knowing your position is important.”
Aaron Ekblad is right on. GMs want players that are versatile, and Ekblad is exactly that. Aaron Ekblad is a leader on top of his skill. He is the captain of his OHL team and captained the Under-17 World Hockey Championship team this past year. He also captained this year’s Canadian Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup team that won a gold medal.
“Aaron is the proverbial ‘workhorse’ defenseman. (He’s) Capable of playing significant minutes, he has a seemingly ability to get better the more he plays and he seems to thrive on these types of demands. Smart and capable of playing in all situations, he is also capable of dominating opponents. Defensively, offensively, skill game or physical game, Aaron can excel in all types of games. Top 2 type defenseman.”
-TSN’s Director of Scouting, Craig Button
So you see there that he is thought of very highly. He has the potential to be a top defensive pairing franchise defenseman in the National Hockey League. Whoever gets Ekblad will get a player that could be able to play in his first year after the draft. He is big enough, and his level of play is well beyond the average 17-year-old in juniors.
NHL Player Comparison: Alex Pietrangelo
St. Louis Blues star defenseman, Alex Pietrangelo, is a perfect comparison for Aaron Ekblad. They are both big defensemen that can move the puck with the best of ‘em. Pietrangelo was the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, and Aaron Ekblad will likely be picked either one or two in the 2014 NHL Draft. They are both very versatile defensemen that play very well in all areas.