The 2014 NHL Entry Draft has been described as wide open with several players capable of being the No. 1 pick.
That may be true, yet the player that should be picked first overall tonight at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia seems simple to me – Barrie D Aaron Ekblad. Why? Because I’ve always
Ekblad is the total package on defense – a big (6-4, 217 pounds) shutdown D who’s strong, physical, quick and agile on his skates. He can produce consistently on the offensive end, and has the hockey intelligence to spearhead the power play.
The Florida Panthers, who have the No. 1 pick, already have promising young D on the roster – Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov – but they should pounce on Ekblad quickly. If not, the Buffalo Sabres should say thanks to the Panthers for passing on him, and quickly make Ekblad their pick at No. 2.
Now check out some mock drafts…
* Ryan Kennedy from The Hockey News
* NHL.com overview
* NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman
* NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale
* NHL.com’s Steven Hoffner
5. N.Y. Islanders
10. Anaheim (from Ottawa)
19. Tampa Bay
20. San Jose
21. Buffalo (conditional from St. Louis)
28. Tampa Bay (from N.Y. Rangers)
29. Los Angeles
30. New Jersey