NHL

Button's Mock Draft: Panthers select Ekblad first overall

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TSN.ca Staff
6/25/2014 9:16:18 AM
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With just days remaining before the 2014 NHL Draft, TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button has put his general manager's hat back on, conducting the final edition of his final 2014 Mock Draft.

With the first overall pick, Button handed hulking Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad to the Florida Panthers. Having won the lottery, the Panthers add Ekblad to a solid stable of forwards that already boasts Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Picking second despite the NHL's worst record, the Buffalo Sabres had their pick of a number of top-end forwards and Button ultimately had them taking Kingston Frontenacs centre Sam Bennett.

With the top two off the board, a run of Canadian teams commenced with five of the seven clubs selecting within the next seven picks.

The Edmonton Oilers stepped up at No. 3 and took German centre Leon Draisaitl. The Prince Albert centre comes with superb vision and offensive punch and deepens an already loaded young forward corps.

Edmonton's provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames, used the very next pick on Sam Reinhart. The next Canadian team to hit the podium were the Vancouver Canucks at sixth overall. They didn't have to look far for their pick, grabbing B.C.'s Jake Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets picked eighth and ninth overall respectively and each grabbed a winger to boost their forward ranks. The Leafs grabbed a blend of size and skill by selecting Peterborough Petes forward Nick Ritchie. Winnipeg went for pure skill with Danish winger Nikolaj Ehlers, who scored 104 points in just 63 games with the Halifax Mooseheads this past season.

The final Canadian team to step up was the Montreal Canadiens, who used the 26th overall pick on Russian winger Ivan Barbashev of the Moncton Wildcats.

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