The Florida Panthers have signed the top pick in June's NHL Draft.
The Panthers announced the signing of defenceman Aaron Ekblad to a three-year, entry-level contract on Wednesday.
"We are very pleased to have signed Aaron," Panthers excutive vice president and general manager Dale Tallon said in statement. "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."
Ekblad scored 23 goals and 30 assists with the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts last season, earning the OHL's most outstanding defenceman honour.
The 18-year-old had a total of 40 goals and 76 assists over three seasons in Barrie. He was the OHL's rookie of the year in 2011-2012.
The Panthers open their prospects camp on Thursday, September 11, with prospects hitting the ice for practice on September 12.
Ekblad was the 13th defenceman to be selected first-overall in the draft and first since the St. Louis Blues selected Erik Johnson in 2006.