The Edmonton Oilers held an "Oiler Panel" last week in which they went through the upcoming NHL Draft and made predictions as to what would happen. The panel, consisting of Oilers head writer Chris Wescott, Oilers play-by-play announcer Jack Michaels, Oilers analyst Bob Stauffer and Oilers TV report/host Tom Gazzola, all predicted the Flyers would trade with the Florida Panthers for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and select hulking defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
It should be noted that this was a prediction from Oilers reporters but it is interesting nonetheless. Of all teams that have been interested in that top pick, why did they predict the Flyers? What do they know that we don't?
New general manager Ron Hextall said at his introductory press conference that he holds young players and draft picks in high regard. A move for the top pick in the draft would be right along with Hextall's thinking even though it might take a number of draft picks and/or young players to move up to the top selection.
Ekblad is expected to be a No. 1 defenseman for a long time and is widely considered as a player who could step in and contribute right away similar to what Seth Jones did this past season with the Nashville Predators. Standing at 6'4", 216 lbs., Ekblad is only the second player ever to be granted exceptional status in the OHL, the first was John Tavares. He's in good company.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports