Links from around the rink: June 27

Well, today's the day. After months and months of pondering the next wave of top talent set to join up with NHL teams, the first round of the draft is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET on Friday night. Will this be the year the "no defenseman at No. 1" streak is broken?

Erik Johnson (2006) was the last blueliner to go first overall, but there is thought that Barrie Colts rearguard Aaron Ekblad could join him in that exclusive fraternity. The Florida Panthers currently hold the first pick, and sure, they could use a guy that could become a high-minutes, every-situation D-man; then again, they could use a lot of things, and we've been hearing for weeks that GM Dale Tallon is open to dealing out of that No. 1 spot, if another team steps up with an offer the Panthers shouldn't refuse (likely chock full of talent already at the NHL level). According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Tallon has been telling other GMs that he has one really good offer for the No. 1 pick, though it's unclear whether "really good" is going to get it done.

Meanwhile, the trade market for veteran players appears to be heating up as well.