Belle River’s Aaron Ekblad is sitting among the NHL’s elite prospects according to the NHL’s CSS preliminary rankings released this past week. Ekblad, rated an ‘A’ prospect, is predicted by many to go Number 1 or Number 2 overall in this spring’s NHL draft.

The Barrie Colts captain, is the top rated defenseman in the draft, and is familiar to the Chatham-Kent hockey community after frequenting local arenas as a member of the Sun County Panthers as recently as 2010-2011.

According to The Hockey News, Ekblad brings the full package to the ice. “Playing in his third OHL season thanks to an exceptional status designation, Ekblad has great size, plays a on of minutes and can put up points,” the magazine wrote.

The Ekblad name is also familiar to local hockey fans, as his brother, Darien Ekblad is a goaltender for the Chatham Maroons. Darien Ekblad, has made a few OHL appearances, but has spent most of his Junior hockey career competing with the Maroons and Leamington Flyers.

This season, the older Darien, is off to an up and down start with the Chatham Maroons, going 5-6-1-0, with one shutout. Last season, Ekblad won his first career OHL start, and played in the GOJHL Western Conference All-Star game and Top Prospects game.