Redding
84° F
Clear
Clear
Red Bluff
84° F
Clear
Clear
Chico
82° F
Clear
Clear
Advertisement

D Ekblad goes No. 1 to Panthers in draft

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 27 2014 09:23:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2014 09:23:59 PM CDT

PHILADELPHIA -- The Florida Panthers selected defenseman Aaron Ekblad with the first overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Barrie captain was named the Ontario Hockey League Most Outstanding Defenseman in 2013-14, leading all players at his position with 23 goals and finishing tied for fifth with 53 points.

At 6 feet 3, 213 pounds, the Windsor, Ontario, native has the size and skating ability to compete for a roster spot immediately. He is considered the most NHL-ready player in this year's draft.

Center Sam Reinhart was selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres. From North Vancouver, British Columbia, Reinhart led Kootenay with 105 points in 60 games during the 2013-14 season. He was named 2013-14 Player of the Year at the annual WHL awards.

His father, Paul, was a standout defenseman for the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks in the 1980s and older brothers Max (Flames, 63rd overall in 2010) and Griffin (New York Islanders, 12th overall in 2012) were also drafted.

The Edmonton Oilers made center Leon Draisaitl the third overall pick and the earliest ever from Germany. The 6-1, 208-pound native of Cologne had 105 points in 64 games for Prince Albert of the WHL last season and was considered to be the most NHL-ready forward in this year's draft.

Center Sam Bennett, who was ranked as the No. 1 skater among North American prospects, went fourth overall to the Flames. The Holland Landing, Ontario, native led Kingston of the OHL with 91 points in 57 games. Bennett was an assistant captain on Canada's gold-medal team at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.

Islanders general manager Garth Snow expressed interest in shopping the fifth overall pick leading up to the draft but opted to select left winger Michael Dal Colle from the Oshawa Generals. The 6-2, 182-pound native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, finished 2013-14 with 95 points in 67 games to lead Oshawa to first place in the Eastern Conference. He also scored the winning goal in the gold-medal game of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial.

Already the busiest team on the trade front with three draft-day deals, the Vancouver Canucks picked left winger Jake Virtanen from Calgary of the WHL at No. 6 overall. Virtanen, a native of New Westminster, British Columbia, scored a team-high 45 goals in his second full Western Hockey League season. A power forward who likes to model his game after New York Rangers winger Rick Nash, Virtanen had the highest overall grade from the on-ice testing at the CHL Top Prospects Game, placing first in the 30-meter forward sprint (3.92 seconds) and 30-meter backward sprint (4.55 seconds).

Haydn Fleury from Red Deer in the WHL became the second defenseman selected when he was picked seventh overall by the Carolina Hurricanes. Known for his size and skating ability, the 6-2, 202-pound native of Carlyle, Saskatchewan, led all Red Deer defensemen with 46 points in 70 games. He was also named best defenseman at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, helping Canada to a bronze medal.

Right winger William Nylander from Modo in Sweden was the first European-based player chosen, going eighth overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The son of Michael Nylander, who had a 15-year NHL career, William was selected as the best forward at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship after leading all players with 10 assists and 16 points in seven games as Sweden finished fourth.

Winnipeg selected Danish left winger Nikolaj Ehlers out of Halifax of the QMJHL with the ninth overall pick. The quick, clever playmaker finished fourth in the QMJHL with 104 points in 63 games while playing alongside Tampa Bay prospect Jonathan Drouin, who was selected third overall in the 2013 draft. Ehlers was named Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year and Best Professional Prospect and had a league-best plus-45 rating.

Left winger Nicholas Ritchie from Peterborough in the OHL went 10th overall to the Anaheim Ducks. At 6-2, 226-pound, the Orangeville, Ontario, native is big, physical, prototypical power forward. Ritchie led Peterborough with 39 goals and 74 points during the regular season and became the third player in franchise history to score five goals in a game. His brother, Brett, was selected 44th overall by Dallas in 2011.

Swiss center Kevin Fiala was selected 11th overall by the Nashville Predators. The 17-year-old registered 10 goals and 25 points in 27 games with HV 71 in Sweden's Under-20 league. An explosive skater with great puck-handling skills, Fiala was the youngest member of Team Switzerland by three years at the 2014 World Championships in Belarus. His father, Jan, a long-time junior coach in Switzerland, coached Kevin throughout his youth hockey career.

The newly renamed Arizona Coyotes selected left winger Brendan Perlini from Niagara in the OHL with the 12th pick. The 6-2, 205-pound native of Guildford, England, led Niagara with 24 goals in 58 games and finished second on the team with 71 points. Perlini wears No. 11 as a tribute to his father Fred, who played eight games with the Toronto Maple Leafs after being drafted 158th overall in 1980. His brother Brendan, who currently plays for Toledo in the ECHL, was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 draft by Anaheim.

Czech center Jakub Vrana was taken 13th overall by the Washington Capitals. The native of Prague spent 2013-14 with Linkoping in the Swedish Hockey League, split between the senior team in the country's top professional league and the junior club. He led the Czech Republic in scoring in the past two Under-18 World Championships.

Finnish defenseman Julius Honka from Swift Current in the WHL was selected 14th overall by the Dallas Stars. An offensive-minded defenseman who models his game after Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, Honka was a member of Finland's gold medal-winning team at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Center Dylan Larkin became the first player from the United States Under-18 Development Program selected, going to the Detroit Red Wings with the 15th overall pick. The Waterford, Mich., native was second on the Under-18 team with 31 goals and fourth in points with 56 in 60 games. Larkin, who has committed to the University of Michigan, was an assistant captain on Team USA's gold medal-winning team at the Under-18 World Championship.

Sonny Milano, a former New York Islanders season ticket-holder from Massapequa, Long Island, was the 16th overall pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Boston College signee finished second on the U.S. Under-18 team with 85 points in 58 games and won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, tying Jack Eichel with 10 points in seven games.

To the delight of the passionate Flyers fans in the stands, Philadelphia selected defenseman Travis Sanheim from Calgary of the WHL with the 17th overall pick. At 6-3, Sanheim possesses terrific size and has the hockey IQ to match.

Sanheim had 29 points in his Western Hockey League rookie season and a plus-25 rating for the Central Division champion Hitmen. The native of Elkhorn, Manitoba, was a teammate of Virtanen, picked sixth overall by Vancouver.

Right winger Alex Tuch was the third player from the U.S. Under-18 team picked in the first round, going to Minnesota at No.18. The power forward from Syracuse, N.Y., is a two-time medalist with Team USA.

Tuch grew up idolizing Tim Connolly, a Syracuse native who played 11 seasons in the NHL. Like Milano, Tuch will play at Boston College in the fall.

Anthony DeAngelo, a offensive defenseman with Sarnia of the OHL, went 19th overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning. A native of nearby Sewell, N.J., and a lifelong Flyers fan, DeAngelo led all defensemen in the OHL with 56 assists and 71 points. He credits former Flyers defenseman Andy Delmore, an assistant coach at Sarnia, with helping him become a more complete defenseman.

With the 20th overall pick, the Chicago Blackhawks selected center Nick Schmaltz from Green Bay of the USHL. The native of Madison, Wis., led Green Bay with 63 points in 55 games. He will join brother Nick, who was drafted 25th overall by St. Louis in the 2012 draft, at the University of North Dakota.