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Top NHL draft pick Aaron Ekblad suffers ‘upper body’ injury

Sunaya Sapurji
Buzzing The Net

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Barrie Colts defenceman and top NHL pick Aaron Ekblad (Larry MacDougall, The Canadian Press)

MONTREAL — An exhibition game in the dog days of summer was anything but friendly for star defenceman Aaron Ekblad.

Ekblad, the Panthers first-overall pick in the June NHL draft, suffered an injury during Canada's 6-2 victory over the Czech Republic. The game was part of Canada's under-20 summer camp taking place in Montreal, Brossard, Que., and Sherbrooke, Que.

With roughly six minutes remaining in the third period, the 6-foot-3, 216-pound defenceman carried the puck up to the Czech blueline when he was hit by 5-foot-11, 161-pound defenceman Lukas Klok. The contact dropped Ekblad and the 18-year-old was wobbly leaving the ice. (gif via @JamesonCoop)

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At this point, head coach Benoit Groulx, said the team isn't going to be taking any chances with Ekblad, who was one of the team's most dependable blueliners at last year's tournament in Malmo, Sweden.

"We know that he'll be re-evaluated (Wednesday)," said head coach Benoit Groulx. "Obviously it's upper body, but I don't know any more right now. We'll know more tomorrow."

The native of Belle River, Ont., was not made available to media after the game, but TSN's Gord Miller reported that Ekblad came out of Team Canada's dressing room, smiled and said he was OK.

Canada's camp runs through to Friday and features two games against Russia (Wednesday and Thursday in Sherbrooke) and another game against the Czech Republic (Friday in Montreal).

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