Panthers No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad injured in exhibition game
The Florida Panthers are left holding their breath after an injury to top-prospect Aaron Ekblad on Tuesday night.
Ekblad, the Panthers’ first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, suffered a concussion during Canada’s 6-2 victory over the Czech Republic. The game was part of Canada’s under-20 summer development camp for World Junior hopefuls.
Attempting to enter the offensive zone, Ekblad was hit hard by 5-foot-11, 161-pound, Czech defenseman Lukas Klok and fell awkwardly to the ice. Visibly disoriented, Ekblad left the ice slowly and made his way to the dressing room. He did not return.
(GIF courtesy of @myregularface)
As a precautionary measure, Team Canada and the Panthers have agreed to hold Ekblad out for the remainder of the summer development camp.
“As announced earlier today by Team Canada, D Aaron Ekblad suffered a concussion during an exhibition game last night," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a statement. "We have been in communication with Team Canada and have mutually agreed to hold Aaron out for the remainder of the summer development camp, as a precautionary measure. We will closely monitor Aaron’s health for the remainder of the off-season and expect him to be ready for our rookie camp in mid-September.”
According to TSN’s Gord Miller, Ekblad came out of Team Canada’s dressing room after the game, smiled and said he was OK.
Ekblad’s injury is just the latest in a string of bad luck for Panthers prospects at under-20 development camps this summer. Defenseman Ian McCoshen was released from the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp on Tuesday for what the team called precautionary reasons.
McCoshen’s status is still unknown.