Panthers' Aaron Ekblad leaves game with lower-body injury

Aaron Ekblad left the game with an injury after colliding with Cam Fowler and falling on top of teammate Aleksander Barkov.

Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad left Friday night's game against the Anaheim Ducks with a lower-body injury and did not return.

The injury occurred early in the first period after a collision between Ekblad, teammate Aleksander Barkov and Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler. Ekblad needed to be helped off the ice and down the tunnel.

After the game, head coach Andrew Brunette said Ekblad would be re-evaluated on Saturday, but that the Panthers were hopeful it would not be long-term.

"It's better than we thought it was going to be," he said. "Nothing structural. We'll know more tomorrow. We'll get a clearer picture tomorrow of what it is."

In the midst of a breakout campaign last season, Ekblad was stretchered off the ice after a collision with Dallas Stars defenceman Esa Lindell, and surgery to repair his fractured left leg, ending his season.

Brunette quickly softened any fears of that being the case again.

"It's not last year, he's going to be OK," he said.

The Panthers only just bolstered their blue line with the marquee acquisition of Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. Florida sent prospect Tyler Smilanic, a 2023 first-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2022 to Montreal in exchange for Chiarot.

In 60 games for Florida this season, Ekblad has recorded 15 goals and 42 assists.

When submitting content, please abide by our  submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.
We use cookies to improve your experience. Learn More or change your cookie preferences. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.