Panthers sign top pick Aaron Ekblad to three-year pact

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Sunrise, FL, United States (4E Sports) – The Florida Panthers announced Wednesday that they signed their top pick in the NHL draft, defenseman Aaron Ekblad, to a three-year, entry-level contract.

“We are very pleased to have signed Aaron,” general manager Dale Tallon said. “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,” he added.

The 18-year-old Ekblad sustained a concussion in an exhibition game on Aug. 4 during Canada’s world junior summer development camp. He is expected to be ready when the Panthers open their prospects camp on Sept. 11.

The rest of the team begins training camp under new coach Gerard Gallant on Sept. 18.

A standout for the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts last season, Ekblad scored 23 goals and recorded 53 points.

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