There have been so many injuries to the Florida Panthers this year, that a lot of the players we still have that aren’t injured have been overlooked. However, many of the stars have been overlooked or have had short sparks of consistency. Reilly Smith was getting hot before a concussion sidelined him. Smith cameback but couldn’t keep his streak. Aleksander Barkov was dominating and he went out with an injury. Seth Griffith was starting to play well and he was cheap shotted and injured. Greg McKegg was playing well and now he is sidelined. However, Aaron Ekblad the 20 year old defenseman must emerge.
Ekblad has had a ‘sophmore slump’ season although it is his third season. He got the ‘A’ but hasn’t performed well. I think he feels a lot more responsibility with the A and isn’t ready to handle it yet especially with this injury filled season. He is in danger unless he has a phenomenal game where he puts up like 10 or 15 points in the next few games of losing his all-star game streak. At this point in the year, Ekblad was getting ready for a game aganist the Oilers in a game which he was cheap shotted, suffered a concussion and earned Matt Hendricks a 3 game suspension.
Last year, after 41 games he had 8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points, 18 PIM, +14. So far this year after 41 games he has 7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points, 38 PIM, -15.
Differences: Goals: -1 Assists: -6 PIM: -20 +/-: -29 Total: -56
Ekblad needs to step up now with everyone injured. He has a good shot. We used to set him up all the time on the powerplay but we don’t do that anymore.