NHL Combine

Panthers reportedly eyeing Ekblad, who loves sunshine


NEW YORK — The Florida Panthers might trade the first overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. But if they don’t, the Sun Sentinel, citing a team source, reports that they’re leaning towards selecting big defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

Now, for the record, everything that comes from a team source ahead of the draft should be taken with a grain of salt. If the Panthers say they’re leaning towards Ekblad, maybe they are. Then again, maybe they’re just throwing his name out there, in case another team covets Ekblad.

But if they do take Ekblad, it doesn’t sound like he’ll have any trouble moving to Florida.

“I love sunshine,” the 18-year-old told reporters today in a New York hotel.

Of course, “I don’t mind snow either.”

Wherever he ends up, Ekblad would love to be the first overall pick.

“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It’s a lifelong dream.”

Nathan MacKinnon was last year’s first overall pick, by the Colorado Avalanche. Others current NHL stars that were top picks include John Tavares, Taylor Hall, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin, Rick Nash, and Joe Thornton.

Oddly enough, Ekblad’s favorite player, and the one he patterns his game after, wasn’t drafted until the third round. Or come to think of it, maybe it’s not that odd, since Nicklas Lidstrom is as good a role model as any for a young defenseman.

“He was a pretty special player,” said Ekblad. “Everyone says he’s a great person off the ice, too, and I think that’s pretty important.”

What does it take to be an elite number-one defenseman like Lidstrom was for the Detroit Red Wings?

“Attention to details,” said Ekblad. “Knowing when to be simple, when to jump into the rush and provide offense. Playing good defense first. Being good on the power play and penalty kill. It takes being an all-around, full-package player. A two-way defenseman.”

Related: It ‘really did bother’ Bennett after pull-up story ‘went crazy’

Ekblad explains why the Panthers are the best place for his development

Sharks send three to AHL; still waiting on Torres suspension

Nikolay Goldobin, Brent Burns
Leave a comment

The San Jose Sharks have assigned forwards Nikolay Goldobin and Melker Karlsson and defenseman Mirco Mueller to AHL San Jose.

Goldobin and Mueller are both first-round picks — the former in 2014, the latter in 2013.

Goldobin had one goal and two assists in five preseason games. It’s possible he could be called back up when the NHL suspends Raffi Torres.

Torres remains part of the 23-man roster (see below) but is facing a lengthy ban for his hit on Anaheim’s Jakub Silfverberg. Torres has a hearing today.

Rookie defenseman Dylan DeMelo is also on the roster. The 22-year-old had one goal and two assists in four preseason games.

Sharks roster

Glencross released from another PTO, this time by Avs

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators
1 Comment

Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.

Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.

While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.

A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.