We continue our 2014 NHL Draft coverage today with another prospect profile; over the next month Defending Big D will be dedicated to covering every aspect of the draft and the Dallas Stars needs and goals heading into the summer.
Today's profile looks at RD Aaron Ekblad from the Barrie Colts of the OHL.
Aaron Ekblad, D, 6'4", 216lbs, Shoots Right
Aaron Ekblad is the best defenseman in the 2014 NHL Draft by a large margin. He's a big two way defenseman who can do everything at a top level if not elite level. He's an extremely smart and is rarely out of position. If his defensive partner has joined the rush he'll cover, if his partner is staying back he will join the rush. He can adjust his game depending upon who he is playing with and play in any way well.
He uses his body effectively to slow down onrushing forwards and he is very good at protecting the puck when leaving his own zone. He might not go from one end of the ice to the other but he is still very good at keeping hold of the puck. His skating is extremely good, especially for someone of his size and he can move around the ice without problem. His shot from the point was very important for Colt's powerplay this season.
Ekblad is also an important leader for Colts and has natural leadership ability. It wouldn't be shocking to see him wear the A or C in a few years in the NHL. A big right shot defenseman is something that many teams will covet. What is his potential? It wouldn't be completely unexpected to see Ekblad playing top two minutes in the NHL in a few years time. He could become a top pairing guy.
Aaron Ekblad is easily the best defenseman of the draft and is the only one who could potentially make it to the NHL next season. Where will he be selected? Almost certainly within the top five if he isn't the top selection by the Florida Panthers.
Some scouting reports from across the web:
An exceptional talent, Ekblad has an impressive blend of size and strength for his age. He's mature, confident and poised in all three zones, skates well and is strong in transition.
Aaron Ekblad is widely regarded as the best defenseman - and perhaps player - in this year's draft class for a reason. At 6'4″ and almost 220lbs, Ekblad is already a load on the backend, and has the potential to grow even more. His strides look a little awkward at times, but he's a good skater, and gets around very well for a player his size. Ekblad has surprisingly good hands, and is confident with the puck on his stick.
Aaron Ekblad has everything you could possibly want in a defenceman, and is great at both ends of the ice. He has a bullet slap shot from the point, and a strong first pass. He shows a ton of offensive potential and has been close to a point per game pace with 23 goals and 53 points in 58 games. He is extremely smart with the puck, and a good quarterback on the powerplay.