Training camp for prospects begins next week.
A 6-foot-3 defenseman from Belle River, Ontario, Ekblad scored 23 goals and tallied 53 points in the Ontario Hockey League.
“He is a talented, strong, smart and hardworking defenseman who is ready to take the next step in his professional career," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said.
Ekblad also captained Team Canada to the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial gold medal last year.
- Scooby Axson