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Aaron Ekblad, simply put, is the best defenseman available in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft according to Craig Button of TSN and it isn't difficult to see why.
The right-handed shooting Ekblad put up 23 goals last season and already clocks in at a massive 6'4" and 216 pounds, making him NHL-ready for almost any team in the league.
If selected by Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings, Ekblad would be a no-brainer to play at the NHL level in his first season. The typical "spend three years in the minors and then maybe get the call" mantra that has been Detroit's philosophy over the past decade or so should not apply for Ekblad.
Why He's The Right Guy For Detroit
Don't look too far to try and over rationalize this decision. The Red Wings were without a full-time right-handed defenseman last season and also without a power-play quarterback.
Ekblad (over the short- and long-term) would solve both problems. He is physically ready to play in this league and has what should turn out to be 15-18 productive years in front of him, meaning he would more than offset any players returning the other direction.
Which Team Should They Trade With?
If the Red Wings are serious about getting Ekblad, they should expect to be trading with the Florida Panthers, as Ekblad could go first, second or third in the draft. While the Panthers need defense, they were second-last in both goals for and goals against, meaning they could easily take a forward instead of Ekblad.
What Will He Cost?
The Red Wings are trading for a possible franchise defenseman here, so the cost will not come cheaply. According to Gare Joyce of Sportsnet, citing an NHL scout, the price to move up to one of the top-two picks "would be picks—a high first and a second or third—and an established player that helps your top two lines.”
So essentially, the Red Wings—who don't have a "high" first, would likely need to shell out this year's first-round pick, this year's second-round pick and possibly next year's first, as well as a player like Johan Franzen.
Is that too much to give back? Depends how one looks at it from a present losses to future gains standpoint.
But one thing is for sure, Dale Tallon's time in Florida may be running short if he does not ice a playoff team within the next three years. If Detroit's management wants Ekblad, they need to give Tallon a deal he cannot turn down.