Aaron Ekblad Draft Profile

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Aaron Ekblad
Aaron Ekblad

The race between Aaron Ekblad and Sam Bennett is incredibly close and either one could go first overall. Both have their fans. At different points this year, I flip/flopped between which one to rank first. Ultimately, I’m going with Aaron Ekblad. I think what really sold me on him was his performance at the WJCs where I felt like he was Canada’s top defenseman. It’s been a long time since we could say that Canada’s top defenseman at the U20s was an 18 year old. I think the other thing that really impressed me this year was Aaron Ekblad’s development as an offensive defenseman. His ability and confidence as a puck mover really took off this year (and helped to secure his appointment as the OHL’s defenseman of the year). Ekblad looks confident skating the puck out of the zone now and is actually taking chances across the opposing blueline, using his size to protect the puck. A lot of his success in doing that also has to do with the improvements he’s made to his first few steps and overall top skating gear. He also grew leaps and bounds as a powerplay QB this year, doing a much better job of getting in position to use his mammoth point shot…and actually getting it through to the net. He was keeping pucks in better at the line and displayed more confidence and patience as a distributor at the point.

At the same time as his offensive game was growing, his defensive game remained dominant. Because of his Ekblad’s and the improvements made to his skating, he’s very difficult to beat on the outside, perhaps one of the toughest defenders to get around in the OHL. He also played with more piss and vinegar in the corners and in front of the net, although I’m sure scouts would love to see him play with even more aggression in those areas (to utilize his 6’4, 200lbs body). The best thing about Ekblad is how physically and mentally mature he is. IMO, he’s ready to jump right into the NHL next year and have an impact at both ends of the ice. The offensive game may still take a bit of time at the NHL level (as it took him time to gain confidence at the OHL level), but he’s a potential franchise defenseman and future captain who also happens to be one of the few top notch defensive prospects in a weak draft year at the position.

– Brock Otten, OHL Prospects

Aaron Ekblad Highlights

Aaron Ekblad Statistics

SeasonTeamLeagueGPGATPPIM+/- Postseas.GPGATPPIM+/-
2009-10 Sun County Panthers Bantam AAA AHBPL-----|
2010-11 Sun County Panthers Mn Mdgt AAA AHMMPL304303434| Playoffs185162114
Sun County Panthers Mn Mdgt AAA Midget6214536766|
2011-12 Barrie Colts OHL6310192934-5| Playoffs132358-1
Canada Ontario U17 WHC-1751234|
2012-13 Barrie Colts OHL54727346429| Playoffs22710172811
Canada Ontario U17 C WHC-1752464|
2013-14 Barrie Colts C OHL58233053917| Playoffs924614-4
Canada U20 WJC-20711220|
Tournament Statistics
2013-14 Canada U18 C Hlinka Memorial522444|
  • MLHS_Luke

    So…how do we get him?

  • SundinWasMyCaptain

    If the Leafs end up trading up I hope its for one of the top 3 spots otherwise anything between 4-8 is a wash. May as well keep that and or trade down to pick up a few roster players in a big package deal.

  • peterbleafs

    Dont care about Ekblad, think Reinhart will be maybe a 2nd liner,  that leaves Bennett for me who has high end but not really elite skills but he has heart and worth ethic…and that makes him for me the only likely number 1 center in this draft.

  • Burtonboy

    Does anyone seriously believe Tallon is going to pass on Bkblad given the state of Florida’s defense . I doubt it . In fact I doubt we see any  trading of the 1st 5 or 6 draft picks.

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy Do you see anyone trading a 1-2 defenseman unless your insinuating we are moving Phaneuf .

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy Well if thats tcase its a perfect time for Shanny to make a trade to shore up our defense then isn’t it .

  • MaxwellHowe

    Burtonboy you’re probably right, but consider this:
    – The Panthers have been getting high draft picks and losing for awhile now.  Not sure they have the financial stability to keep waiting; playoff revenue would be a huge boost no doubt
    – they may want to take advantage of Luongo’s remaining years 
    – they do not want to be the Oilers
    – Tallon wants to spend money; their is not a lot in the free agent market.  If he wants real established big ticket players, he’s going to have to trade some youth one way or another.
    So while unlikely, its not out of the question.

  • Great Dane

    MaxwellHowe Burtonboy the dark horse here is Viola – if he wants to win next season then Tallon might be forced to trade the first overall.

    That is where I believe Phaneuf enters the scene.

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy Top 4 we might have a slight chance. don’t think we can logically trade for a top 1-2 without creating huge holes elsewhere that would have to be filled . Reimer has little value on the trade market and Franson is a bottom pair defenseman. Those guys are a dime a dozen. Gunnar may get you something in a package.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Great Dane MaxwellHowe Burtonboy rather it was Kessel, but he has a NTC.  I’m not sure what the situation with Phaneuf’s NTC, because I’ve heard conflicting reports.  The other player the Leafs could dangle is JVR, who as far as I know does not have a NTC.  But strangely I think JVR is probably more valued by fans and the team than Kessel, probably on account of his nice contract