Defenseman Aaron Ekblad granted exceptional player status, is eligible for OHL draft in May

The Ontario Hockey Federation has announced Aaron Ekblad of the Sun County Panthers minor midget program has been granted exceptional player status for the Ontario League.

The 15-year-old is now eligible for the OHL’s draft a year earlier than he would have been.

Ekblad becomes the first player since John Tavares to be granted the status. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound defenseman had 34 points in 30 regular season games for the Panthers this season and 21 points in 18 playoff games.

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The OHL draft will take place May 7 with the Barrie Colts holding the first overall selection.