The Florida Panthers announced on Sunday they’ve placed defenceman Aaron Ekblad on long-term injured reserve. Ekblad’s injury happened on the game against the Anaheim Ducks. He’ll be out for the rest of the season.
I'm told Aaron Ekblad will be placed on LTIR and will not return during the regular season, but sometime during the first round. So cap space is no issue for #FlaPanthers.
Expect them to be active – and maybe use that space (after Hagg deal) to attempt to recoup some picks.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 20, 2022
Aaron Ekblad Injury Keeps Him Out For The Remainder of the Season
Ekblad was hurt during the game against the Ducks on Friday. He collided with teammate Aleksander Barkov and Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler as they raced for the puck. Ekblad was helped off the ice, went straight to the locker room and did not return.
There’s no update on the injury as of now but it doesn’t seem to be the same problem as last season. The defenceman was injured in late March in the 2020-21 campaign and lost the remainder of the season as well. According to Andy Slater, it’s a lower-body injury that could be related to his ankle.
Ekblad is Florida’s top defenceman and this hurts the team more than helps. He has 15 goals and 57 points in 61 games with the team so far and is a huge player for Florida. The good news is that the injury doesn’t seem to be as bad as it was last year. Moving him to LTIR gives him the time to recover well from it and be ready for the playoffs. It also gives them the cap space necessary to accommodate Claude Giroux‘s salary after the Saturday trade.
The Robert Hagg Trade
While putting Ekblad on LTIR, the Panthers made yet another move prior to their deadline. They acquired defenceman Robert Hagg from the Buffalo Sabres. Hagg will serve as a temporary fix while Ekblad recovers from his injury. The 27-year-old averaged 17 minutes per game with the Sabres in 48 games and has nine points. He isn’t a superstar, top pair defenceman but will fit well in the third pair. The Panthers also acquired Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens, which gives them a little more flexibility in the defence department.
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