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Ducks, Preds steal NHL draft limelight

Top pick Aaron Ekblad (middle), poses with No. 2 pick Sam Reinhart (right) and No. 3 pick Leon...

Top pick Aaron Ekblad (middle), poses with No. 2 pick Sam Reinhart (right) and No. 3 pick Leon Draisaitl at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia last night. (Bill Streicher /USA Today Sports)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:28 AM ET

This was supposed to be about Aaron Ekblad, two teens named Sam and five Canadian teams picking in the Top Nine.

Obviously someone forgot to tell the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators about the plan.

On a day when the NHL draft came to the City of Brotherly Loathe — a reputation the fine fans of Philly lived up to by zestfully booing commissioner Gary Bettman for a solid five minutes — the Ducks and Predators were the big winners both on and off the draft floor.

After weeks of toying with the idea of dealing away the No. 1 pick, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon opted to stay the course and took Ekblad, the Barrie Colts defenceman who could very well step into the NHL right away come October.

But while Tallon chose to avoid wheeling and dealing, the Ducks and Predators certainly didn’t.

And they are better teams today because of it, thanks also in part to some shrewd drafting along the way as well.


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