Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad left Friday’s game early due to a lower-body injury but interim head coach Andrew Brunette told reporters, including David Wilson of the Miami Herald, that the injury isn’t as bad as it first appeared, indicating that there was no structural damage. While there’s no timetable yet for his return, Brunette is “very hopeful” that his star blueliner won’t be out for long. Ekblad suffered a serious ankle injury late last season that took him out for the playoffs which dealt a serious blow to their postseason hopes. Although it appears he’ll miss some time, Ekblad has avoided a similar fate this time around.
Other news and notes from the East:
- There haven’t been any recent discussions between the Blue Jackets and Max Domi regarding a contract extension, notes David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period (Twitter link). The 27-year-old has 32 points in 52 games this season and the fact he can play on the wing and down the middle should be of interest to playoff-bound teams. What won’t be something many of those contenders have interest in, however, is his contract, as his $5.3MM cap hit is one that will be difficult for them to afford. Regardless, Columbus should be able to find a trade taker for him by Monday.
- The Penguins have shown interest in Sabres defenseman Robert Hagg, reports Josh Yohe of The Athletic (subscription link). Cap space will be an issue for Pittsburgh with all of their current space coming from Jason Zucker who’s on LTIR but will return next month but if Buffalo is able to retain half of Hagg’s $1.6MM AAV, his cap hit would be just above the league minimum which is something they should be able to afford.