The Panther Prowler 10

Welcome to the Tenth edition of The Panther Prowler, we have a lot to get to so let’s get started.


Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (Concussion/Neck) and Right Wing Prospect (Ranked #4 in our system by The Puck Under the Sun) Jayce Hawryluk (Hand) both were the first two selections by the Panthers in the 2014 draft going 1st and 32nd overall respectively. Now they have another thing in common. Both are the first injuries of the season.

Hawryluk broke his hand on Sunday at the Panthers Annual Rookie Camp (Scroll down to see more about camp) in a scrimmage in a fight against Washington Capitals Center Prospect Jakub Vrana. Hawryluk broke his hand pummeling Vrana in a fight (which Jayce obviously won). He got surgery on Wednesday and there is no timetable for his return. Hawryluk who played for Brandon of the WHL had 106 points which included 47 goals in 58 games. He was projected to start his first professional season with the Springfield Thunderbirds (the Panthers new AHL affiliate). However that will be delayed. One thing annoyed me about the injury and it was the reaction by all of these bloggers who are so called experts. They were giving the Hawryluk injury as an example of why fighting should not be in hockey. That annoys me. I will post something down below about that in this article.

Ekblad was playing in the World Cup of Hockey for Team North America Under 23 Team in a game against Team Finland led by fellow Panther Aleksander Barkov. In a play in his defensive zone, Ekblad had the puck, when Toronto Maple Leafs Centerman Leo Komarov came up and hit Ekblad on a clean play straight in the shoulder.

It was a play in which as you can see, Komarov hit Ekblad right in the shoulder. As Ekblad falls back from the force of impact, he goes head first into the glass.

President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon revealed Yesterday that he didn’t have an update but he thought Ekblad was going to be “just fine”.

However this is Ekblad’s third concussion in 25 months. His first was with Team Canada at the 2014 World Juniors. His second was nine months ago. Matt Hendricks of the Edmonton Oilers in retaliation for a big questionable hit by Panthers Defenseman Erik Gudbranson on Oilers star Taylor Hall, chased Ekblad into a corner into his own zone. Ekblad who was set up in a vulnerable position retrieved the puck and flipped it out of the zone. Approaching from behind him was Hendricks who put an extremely dirty hit from behind on Ekblad which knocked Aaron out for 4 games. No penalty on the play on the ice was called by the moronic officials (I can go on for a whole 10,000 word rant about the officiating in the NHL) but Hendricks got a 3 game suspension and a beating in his first game back against the Cats by Erik Gudbranson.

Ekblad’s mentor and Former Panthers Captain Willie Mitchell was just forced to retire after 7 concussions. Ekblad has 3 and he isn’t even done with his ELC, Plus he has a 8 year $7.5M contract awaiting him after this season. Ekblad needs to be protected by the players on the Cats. Sasha Barkov who is oft-injured has only one concussion. However Ekblad should be fine, all 3 of his concussions have been minor and Mitchell’s 7 were all serious. However hits to the head by players have destroyed Marc Savard and almost destroyed David Booth’s careers and those weren’t suspended. Ekblad needs to be careful and keep his head up when he is hit.

Ekblad should be back for Opening Night for the Cats but Hawryluk no for the Thunderbirds opener on October 13th.


Team Finland and Team North America were both eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey. What does this mean? Any Panther players and Gerard Gallant who were participating in the World Cup are coming home.


The Cats went 3-0 at the annual rookie camp defeating Nashville (6-2); Washington (5-2) and Tampa Bay (3-2). 2015 4th round pick Center Denis Malgin is the unanimous MVP by far scoring 6 goals in the tournament. The jury is out to see if he can repeat Connor Brickley’s accomplishment of surprising everyone during camp/pre-season and making the Opening Night Roster however his chances are more unlikely than Brickley’s were last year. Brickley had been picked in 2010 in the 2nd round and Malgin was a 4th rounder last year (even though many say he was the most underrated player in the draft last year). All in All it was a good showing for our 30th ranked prospect pool by ESPN. This just proves that ESPN is wrong to put it in a nice way.


I saw a couple of blog posts that say oh Jayce Hawryluk broke his hand in a fight that is why fighting shouldn’t be in hockey. Now players have the choice to fight. Do you know how a lot get injured and there is no choice? The answer is cheap shots. The NHL needs to suspend any hit above a player’s shoulder line. I don’t care if his head is down, it needs to be suspended. If you take fighting out of the game, it will become cheap shot derby. Then you will have to take hitting out of the game which leads to players whacking their sticks at other players. If refs aren’t going to do their job in policing the game and I saw enough proof last year to say that the players are going to have to take matters into their own hands. What’s more dangerous: Getting punched in the cheek or being slashed at the head above the helmet hard? I’d think it would be the slash. I hope you agree with me too.

Thanks for reading. Happy Start of Training Camp! and see you next week.