The Florida Panthers‘ blue line is gaining some reinforcements on Friday, as head coach Paul Maurice announced that both Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour have been activated and will play against the Anaheim Ducks.
Both defencemen will be making their season debuts as they have each been out of the lineup after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery.
Ekblad, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft, had 14 goals and 24 assists in 71 games for the Panthers last year. After the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final, Ekblad revealed he suffered a dislocated shoulder, broken foot and torn oblique throughout the playoffs.
Montour led the Panthers in average ice time last season while scoring 16 goals and dishing out 57 assists over 80 regular season games.
Without the two key blueliners in the lineup, the Panthers are still off to a solid start to the 2023-24 season. Heading into Friday’s action, Flordia is 10-5-1 and sits second in the Atlantic Division.