Aaron Ekblad will be out for 12 weeks for the Florida Panthers after the defenseman underwent successful surgery Monday on a broken left leg.
“Not having a player of Aaron’s caliber and character is an irreplaceable loss for our hockey club,” said Florida general manager Bill Zito. “Aaron is an incredibly motivated and talented young player and a great leader for our team. He has the sincere support of our organization, his teammates and fans as we wish him the best in his recovery and eventual return. Despite the absence of Aaron from our lineup, we are confident in the resilience and motivation of our group as we move forward. ”
The 25-year-old will be out for the remainder of the regular season and the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. June 21 is 12 weeks from Monday. The last day of the regular season is scheduled for May 11.
Ekblad got his left leg caught under his body after being checked by the Stars defender Ce Lindell in the middle of the second and immediately grabbed his left knee. He left on a stretcher after medical staff put a long splint on his left leg.
“It was quite difficult,” Panthers striker Jonathan huberdeau said after the game. “It’s obviously hard to see a teammate, a good friend, go down like that. He was and he’s probably going to be away for a while. It’s obviously not cool, but it’s part of the game.
“You hear him scream too. I mean, it must have hurt so bad. Obviously, it comes and catches you. He’s a great guy, a great teammate. [stinks]. It’s part of the game, a bad break. It’s gonna be hard to be without him, but we’re gonna be there for him. We will support it. ”
Ekblad has scored 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 35 games and leads the Panthers with an average of 25:05 ice time per game. He got an assist to help Florida take a 3-1 lead at the time of his injury.
“I think he’s been great this year,” Florida coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think he had so many games where he was dominant defensively, but his offensive contribution, by joining the attack, added a different dimension to our power play, meaningful minutes, games, control of results. matches you couldn’t ask It got better. It has accelerated its development this year and has been an important factor. ”
The Panthers (22-9-4) swept a two-game set in Dallas and are third in the Discover Central Division, one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes and two behind the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning. The top four teams in the division will advance to the playoffs.
“This is not the day to get excited, [but] at the same time, I still think there is a group here that has the ability to find ways to win hockey games, ”said Quenneville. We have to find out what it’s like to win in the playoffs, and that acquired taste is something that we have to gain in order to acquire and learn to manage it. We need to learn this lesson and we look forward to discovering it to the best of our ability. ”