Panthers sign top overall pick Ekblad


The Sports Network

Sunrise, FL ( - The Florida Panthers have signed defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the top overall pick of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Financial terms of the three-year, entry-level deal were not disclosed.

"We are very pleased to have signed Aaron," said Panthers general manager Dale Tallon on Wednesday. "He is a talented, strong, smart and hardworking defenseman who is ready to take the next step in his professional career. We look forward to watching him compete and develop at our prospects camp, throughout our main training camp and in preseason competition."

Ekblad was the first defenseman chosen with the top overall pick of the NHL Draft since St. Louis selected Erik Johnson No. 1 in 2006. He recorded 23 goals and 53 points in just 58 regular-season games for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League in 2013-14.

The 18-year-old Ontario native was diagnosed with a concussion in early August after taking a hit while playing for Team Canada's World Juniors team in an exhibition game against the Czech Republic. He was cleared to begin skating a few weeks later and is expected be fully recovered for training camp later this month.

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