PuckPedia tweeted that the Florida Panthers made a move today to officially place star defenseman Aaron Ekblad on the long-term injured reserve. The transaction has been months in the making, but the Panthers officially completed the paperwork today. Ekblad is expected to miss at least the first month of the season as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
The move gives the Panthers some breathing room under the salary cap allowing them to facilitate other moves. Florida will be without Ekblad and fellow defenseman Brandon Montour for quite some time which could lead to expanded roles for Gustav Forsling and newcomer Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
One note on LTIR is that once a player is placed on it, they must miss at least ten games and 24 days, which means the earliest Ekblad could return is the first week of November.
The 2014 first-overall pick saw his numbers dip last season as the Panthers marched to the Stanley Cup finals. And with the root cause of his injury unknown, one might wonder if a fully healthy Ekblad could be ready for a monster bounce-back season.
In other Panthers notes:
- The Panthers announced that they have recalled forward Justin Sourdif from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. The recall comes mere hours after the team assigned the 21-year-old to the AHL along with veterans Zac Dalpe and Casey Fitzgerald. The Richmond, British Columbia native posted seven goals and 17 assists as a rookie last season in the AHL, dressing in 48 games. The Panthers open the regular season against the Minnesota Wild on October 12th.
- Panthers forward Sam Bennett may be back in Florida’s lineup sooner than later as David Dwork of The Hockey News is reporting that the team is toying with the idea of bringing Bennett on their upcoming road trip. The 27-year-old has been ruled out of their season opener on Thursday but may travel with the team as they head up to Winnipeg for a game on Saturday and New Jersey next Monday. Bennett was seen in a walking boot on October 7th after being injured in a preseason game on October 5th, however, the injury doesn’t appear as severe as first reported.