Roberto Luongo won't be the only Florida Panthers player participating in Sunday's All-Star Game in Columbus, OH. Rookie Aaron Ekblad will take the place of Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson while Johnny Gaudreau will fill in for Sidney Crosby. The veterans are both out with the dreaded, lower-body injury.
Ekblad, who was already slated to take part in the skills competition, is enjoying a phenomenal start to his NHL career and is currently tied for second on the Panthers, with Jonathan Huberdeau, in scoring with 25 points. The number one overall pick in last summer's draft has played in all 44 of Florida's games and averaging 22:04 TOI with a healthy plus-seven rating.
The skills competition takes place on Saturday at 7 p.m. and can be watched on NBC Sports Network. The 60th NHL All-Star Game will see a 5 p.m. Sunday start, also on NBCSN, with Team Foligno battling Team Toews. The draft for the teams will be held tonight.