The Florida Panthers are hurting, with Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour both leaving the game a few days ago. While Montour is back at morning skate today, he won’t play tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. In their place, Lucas Carlsson and Matt Kiersted have both been brought up from the AHL, with the latter only activated from season-opening injured reserve yesterday.
Ekblad has been moved to long-term injured reserve, a necessity given how little cap space the team had been dealing with. His timeline is still undetermined.
It is an unfortunate result for the Panthers’ top defenseman, who is coming off the best season of his career. Ekblad was sixth in Norris Trophy voting in 2021-22 after scoring 15 goals and 57 points in 61 games. That games played number is the important one here though, as it’s now been a few years since he was able to put together a full healthy season.
Going on LTIR means missing at least ten games or 24 days – not ideal as the team tries to find its new identity without Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. In his first two games, Ekblad had averaged nearly 25 minutes a night and was likely set to see that much action for the entire season. Without him in the lineup, the team will have to find another way to fill up that ice time.