NHL Draft: Round 1 analysis

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PHILADELPHIA -- The next generation of NHL stars takes the stage at the 2014 NHL draft. Insider's Frank Provenzano and Corey Pronman break down every first-round pick, including analysis of the prospects' talents and where they fit into each team's pipeline.

Follow along on Twitter (@NHLDraftBlog) for additional insights throughout the night.


Final Mock Draft | Top 100 Prospects


Aaron Ekblad
Florida Panthers

TEAM: Barrie (OHL)
HT: 6-foot-3
WT: 213 lbs

Prospect analysis: He's a monster on the back end and plays the game with an edge and elite defensive value. He does so much more than just hit and win battles: he skates well with good power in his stride and excellent pivots; he has really developed the offensive side of his game, with above-average puck skills; and he sees the ice well, can be creative along the point and join the attack or run the point with a high-end shot from deep. -- Pronman

Team-fit analysis: Ekblad will give the Panthers a potential cornerstone defenseman who can eat up big minutes in big situations. He will complement a strong group of young forwards (led by Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov) and the recently reacquired Roberto Luongo to help shore up a very leaky Panthers defense that ranked 29th in the NHL last season. If Florida ever hopes to gain admittance to the perennial playoff club, it needs to develop a true hockey identity to go along with this young core. -- Provenzano