The premier talent available in the upcoming 2014 NHL Draft will be on display for scouts all across North America on January 15 at the Top Prospects game in Calgary, Alberta. The top two contenders for first overall at the draft – Sam Reinhart and Aaron Ekblad – will each captain their respective teams at the game. Reinhart will be leading Team Cherry, while Ekblad will lead team Orr.
The two will be pitted against each other not only in the game, but in the draft, considering they are in the tightest race for being selected first overall since 2010 when forwards Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin were neck-and-neck until draft day. This time around, however, it is a forward and a defenseman who will be contesting each other.
I want to shut down Sam, I want to make sure he doesn’t score any goals, so that’s my main goal for now.
Both Reinhart and Ekblad played together for the 2014 World Junior Canadian team, with Reinhart scoring 2G, 3A and Ekblad tallying a goal and an assist. Each player was relied upon heavily according to their specific positions. they have been to international tournaments and have a year under their belts in the CHL, however the NHL Draft is something only Sam has had experience with (due to his brothers Max and Griffin each being drafted before him):
My brothers have had a huge impact on my career. It’s not so much what they’ve said as it’s been just watching them both handle their draft years. I learned a lot watching what they experienced.
Both know what is at stake, as their final stretch before draft day has already begun, but perhaps Ekblad provided his listeners with the best quote:
Me, Sam and all the other players at this game have a special bond; we’re all fighting for top honors in this year’s draft. It’s going to be an exciting time.