At six-foot-three and 216 pounds, Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts might just be the NHL prospect most physically ready to make the jump to the pros next season.
Still, the Ontario Hockey League’s reigning Defenceman of the Year says he needs to improve on one key area of his game.
“My foot speed and my power and my stride. I think that’s always going to be one of the most important things for me,” Ekblad told Sportsnet 960 The Fan Thursday. “The learning curve to moving the puck quicker or shooting harder, I think that all comes with experience and working at it. My foot speed is something that I can work on in the summer, really hone in on and get better at, and it’ll help me a lot to play in the NHL next year.”
Ekblad, who is currently participating in the NHL Scouting Combine, is ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting’s list of top eligible North American skaters and projected to be one of the top picks at the draft, which begins June 27 in Philadelphia and concludes the following day.
Despite his high billing, the 18-year-old Windsor, Ont., native won’t rest on his laurels.
“There is still a long way to go to get stronger and be a better hockey player. There’s more than enough for me to do to get better,” Ekblad added. “It’s humbling in ways that I could be back in Barrie next year, but I’m going try and do everything in my power to play in the NHL next year and that’s what my goal is.”
In 58 games with the Colts this past season, Ekblad registered a career-high 23 goals, 30 assists and 91 penalty minutes.