There was plenty of speculation that a team could land the No. 1 overall pick from the Florida Panthers just prior to the start of the NHL Draft on Friday. Apparently, the Philadelphia Flyers made quite the move for it.
In the end, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon held onto the pick, selecting defenseman Aaron Ekblad with that first overall selection. But it was certainly something worth dangling in front of the other GMs in the league in the waning moments.
“We were close,” said Tallon, as per CSN Philadelphia. “They made a legitimate attempt. We had a number of conversations with Ron. They teased me. It was not an easy decision. They were willing. … It was enticing.
“High noon today … We made our decision. We laid out all our cards on the table, laid out all the pros and cons on possible deals and what was eventually best for the franchise in the long term. … We felt that Ekblad fit into the [Aleksander] Barkov, [Nick] Bjugstad advance in what we’re trying to build.”
With rookie GM Jim Benning, the Vancouver Canucks had a busy day by making three trades earlier on, including a blockbuster that sent Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks, were also making a bid for the first overall pick, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.