Florida Panthers sign Aaron Ekblad to entry level contract

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The former captain of the Barrie Colts Aaron Ekblad will be playing in his first NHL season this year.

The Florida Panthers successfully signed this year’s number one draft pick to a three year entry level contract Wednesday.

Ekblad has quite an impressive resume heading into his first NHL season.

Impressive Achievements

Last season Aaron Ekblad tallied 23 goals and 30 assists with the Barrie Colts. That point tally earned him the title of most outstanding defenseman in the OHL last year. Ekblad has spent the last three seasons with the Barrie Colts, accumulating an outstanding 40 goals and 76 assists. He also won a gold medal as Captain of Team Canada in the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

Aaron Ekblad wore the “C” while playing for Team Ontario at the Under-17 Hockey Challenge as well. At just age 17, Ekblad also got the chance to play at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships where he tallied two points in seven games. Now just 18, Aaron Ekblad fulfills his dream of being able to play in the NHL.

I believe Aaron Ekblad will have instant success in his rookie season. He’s proven he can handle leadership roles on three different occasions. He’s got explosive speed, a deadly slap shot and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around. I believe he’ll be able to handle any expectations the Panthers may have for him.

Moving forward

I believe Aaron Ekblad will be a top four defenseman for the Florida Panthers in the upcoming season. I really hope he gets the opportunity to play along-side veteran defensemen Willie Mitchell or Brian Campbell. These veteran warriors have loads of experience and will be able to help Aaron improve his skills.

At 18, Ekblad will make mistakes, but I’m confident Mitchell will be able to guide him to success. There is no doubt in my mind that Aaron Ekblad will be a difference maker and a fan favorite for the Florida Panthers this season.

The management staff of this team has done a wonderful job bringing in more experienced players to help the younger players. Dave Bolland, Jussi Jokinen and Mitchell are just a few examples. The Panthers also have quite a few young players ready to step up and contribute more this season.

If Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Fleischmann and Aleksander Barkov can build off last season's combined point tally of 80 points, this team could easily challenge for a playoff spot.

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