Aaron Ekblad

Darren Walker

Ekblad is the complete package, a strong two-way defenseman with better than NHL-desirable size. He gets to where he needs to just fine with a long, powerful stride, and consistently uses his natural gifts such as strength and reach to make the right plays. Ekblad is strong on his skates and is near impossible to move. He battles hard along the boards and in front of his own net, rarely losing a battle. He closes gaps quickly and uses his frame to get into lanes and close-off options. Ekblad has no problem staying locked to his man down low. He is physical when he wants to be and can make life difficult on opponents. He is extremely smart, with a high hockey IQ and is able to read the play coming at him quickly, making the simple, effective plays that most his age would not. He is not one to go coast to coast and try to beat the entire opposing team with the puck, but he does carry it well and is able to get by opponents by protecting the puck with his long reach. Ekblad has no problem taking what is there and adapting to whomever his D-partner might be. If he is paired with a puck rusher, Ekblad stays back; if his partner prefers to play it safe, Ekblad will jump up when the opportunity presents itself. He shows a lot of poise and patience with the puck on his stick. Ekblad makes strong outlets and has an outstanding mid- to long-range pass that is typically on the mark. He displays strong vision and timing, confidently making those passes. His point shot is one of his top weapons as it is both extremely hard and accurate, but also he uses it at the right time and places it in proper locations. Ekblad is not one to just drive the puck into shin pads. He is the team Captain in Barrie and a vocal leader on every other team he played on, showing strong leadership qualities that will translate well to the NHL level. (May 2014)