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Aaron Ekblad | Defenseman | #5

Team: Florida Panthers
Age / DOB:  (21) / 2/7/1996
Ht / Wt:  6'4' / 216
Drafted: 2014 / Rd. 1 (1) / FLA
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Recent News

Aaron Ekblad feels he learned a great deal from his struggles last season.
"That's a season where you really realize how hard it is, how hard this league is, how hard it is to stick around," Ekblad said. "It's easy to take that for granted with the money that we're paid and the opportunities that we get. You have to really humble yourself. Last year humbled me." He posted an NHL career-low 21 points and a career worst minus-23 rating, while skating in 68 games. The 21-year-old defender said he "may have cruised through my first two years a little bit too much. The real work began this summer." Ekblad feels more confident and healthy going into the 2017-18 campaign. He wants to lead the Panthers back to the playoffs. Aug 4 - 8:52 AM

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Aaron Ekblad and a few other members of the Panthers already have a connection to new Florida coach Bob Boughner.

Ekblad grew up in Windsor as a close family friend of Boughner and his son. Boughner also coached Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie when he was on the staff of the Columbus Blue Jackets as an assistant and he worked with goalie James Reimer with the Sharks last season. In another twist, he was a teammate of Jaromir Jagr on Pittsburgh in 2000.

Aaron Ekblad said he felt 100 percent after the season ended and he doesn't expect to have any lingering effects from the head injuries he suffered this year.

He admitted that it was hard to bounce back initially because he wasn't mentally ready for contact again, but he felt more like himself again in mid-January before he ended up back on the sidelines at the end of the campaign. Ekblad registered a career-low 10 goals and 21 points in 68 games. He also had a team-worst minus-23 rating, but he is confident that he will get back on track in 2017-18.
Apr 17 - 10:41 AM

Aaron Ekblad (neck) may not return before the end of the regular season.

"He's day to day," interim coach Tom Rowe said of Ekblad, "but it's unlikely we're going to play him." He hasn't played since Mar. 21 because of a neck issue.
Apr 3 - 6:06 PM

Aaron Ekblad (neck) will miss the Panthers' next five games.

That's Saturday's contest and the entirety of the Panthers' upcoming road trip. Ekblad has a sore neck and has been dealing with headaches. Panthers coach/GM Tom Rowe said that it's not related to Ekblad's concussion, which he was cleared of, but Rowe regrets allowing Ekblad to return from it on Tuesday. "I’m not going to lie, I wish we didn’t," Rowe said of Ekblad playing Tuesday. "That’s on me. The doctors cleared him, our medical staff cleared him but I had some reservations and I wish I stayed with my gut. That’s no one’s fault but my own." After Ekblad's latest issue, the Panthers are going to be very conservative with him.
Mar 25 - 2:23 PM

Aaron Ekblad (neck) didn't practice on Friday and is experiencing headaches.

Given that Ekblad only recently returned from a concussion, the news that he has headaches might understandably sound concerning, but Panthers coach Tom Rowe said it's unrelated. "He has the headaches because of the neck injury," Rowe said. "There’s no reason to rush him back." Ekblad also dealt with headaches when he suffered whiplash back in September and in that instance he initially thought he had a concussion.
Mar 24 - 5:20 PM

Aaron Ekblad has been sidelined with a stiff neck, and will not play in Thursday's game against Arizona.

He noted that it's unrelated to his previous concussion. In 68 games this season, Ekblad has posted 10 goals and 21 points along with 58 PIMs, 62 blocks and 88 hits. Consider him day-to-day for now.
Mar 23 - 1:25 PM

Aaron Ekblad (concussion) will return from his four-game absence on Tuesday against Carolina.

Through 67 games this season, the franchise defender has posted 10 goals and 21 points along with 58 PIMs, 62 blocks and 87 hits.
Mar 21 - 3:07 PM

Aaron Ekblad (concussion) is expected to miss seven-to-10 days, per Panthers coach Tom Rowe.

Concussions don't usually conform well to timetables, so we're taking that timetable with a bit of caution. It does suggest though that the Panthers feel optimistic about Ekblad based on what they've seen so far as missing a week is about as short of an absence as you get from a concussion.
Mar 13 - 12:24 PM

Aaron Ekblad sustained a concussion in Saturday night's contest against the Lightning.

It's official. As with all concussions, there is no immediate timetable for Ekblad's return. Reserve him immediately and hope for the best.
Mar 12 - 10:00 AM

Aaron Ekblad has sustained an upper-body injury and will not return to Saturday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ekblad slammed into the glass head first about 3:30 into the second and is likely undergoing concussion protocol.
Mar 11 - 8:44 PM

Aaron Ekblad potted his 10th goal of the season in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

He cashed on a Panthers' power play with 3:26 remaining in the third period. Ekblad has struggled this season with 21 points in 65 games, but he still managed to hit double digits in goals for a third straight year.
Mar 8 - 8:39 AM

Aaron Ekblad scored a shorthanded goal in Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ekblad picked off a Claude Giroux pass in the neutral zone, went around him like he wasn't there and then buried the puck in the net to give Florida a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Flyers, they let the lead slip away. Ekblad finished the game with a plus-1 rating and nine shots on goal in 24:41 of ice time. Ekblad is up to nine goals and 11 assists in 63 games this season.
Mar 2 - 10:43 PM

Aaron Ekblad scored a power play goal in Friday's 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

It was his first goal in 26 games, as the Panthers defenseman hadn't scored since Dec. 10. He has eight goals and 17 points in 56 games this season. Now that the team is scoring more goals, expect his offensive production to increase.
Feb 18 - 10:43 AM

Aaron Ekblad ended a seven-game pointless skid on Wednesday.

He picked up his ninth assist of the season in a wild 6-5 overtime win over San Jose. Ekblad has struggled to produce in his third NHL season with 16 points through 55 matches.
Feb 16 - 8:43 AM

Depth Charts

All Positions
PosRoleName
C1Aleksander Barkov
2Vincent Trocheck
3Nick Bjugstad
4Derek MacKenzie
5Curtis Valk
LW1Jonathan Huberdeau
2Jared McCann
3Denis Malgin
4Micheal Haley
5Henrik Haapala
RW1Radim Vrbata
2Evgeny Dadonov
3Colton Sceviour
4Maxim Mamin
5Jayce Hawryluk
6Owen Tippett
D1Aaron Ekblad
2Michael Matheson
3Keith Yandle
4Jason Demers
5Mark Pysyk
6Alex Petrovic
7Ian McCoshen
G1Roberto Luongo
2James Reimer