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Aaron Ekblad

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Commonly regarded as one of the best young players in hockey, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad already has an outstanding resume in hockey circles despite still being a teenager.  After netting 55 points in 48 games in AAA Minor Midget as an underage player for the Sun County Panthers, Hockey Canada granted Aaron Exceptional Player Status.  This designation allowed Aaron to compete in the Canadian Hockey League a year earlier then his eligible age.  Following Aaron’s Exceptional Player Status designations, the Barrie Colts drafted the Belle River, Ontario native 1st overall in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection.  Aaron also joined an exclusive group that includes Bobby Orr, Jason Spezza and John Tavares to play in the OHL at the tender age of 15.  Following a stellar 29 points in 63 games rookie season, Aaron continued to blossom as a 16 year old, netting 34 points, and improving to a +29, a drastic improvement from the -5 he accumulated during his rookie season.  Aaron also led the Barrie Colts to the 2013 OHL Finals, where the Colts lost in 7 games to the London Knights.  Named the Barrie Colts captain for his NHL draft year, Aaron posted a career high 53 points in 58 games and he also played for Team Canada at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships.  At the end of the 2014 OHL season, Aaron received the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL’s Top Defenseman.  Following an outstanding junior career, the Florida Panthers selected Aaron Ekblad 1st overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.  Aaron made an immediate impact with the Panthers as an 18 year old, netting an assist in his first NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Aaron later scored his first NHL goal on November 1st 2014 against Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason.  Aaron finished his rookie NHL season with 12 goals, 27 assists for 39 points in 81 games played.  Aaron led all NHL rookie defensemen in goals, power play goals, power play points and shots.  Aaron also finished second amongst rookie defensemen in assists, plus-minus, hits and blocked shots.  As a result of Aaron’s successful rookie season, he was the recipient for the 2015 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of The Year.