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Aaron Ekblad undergoes successful surgery, out for 12 weeks

Cats will have to get by without Norris-calibre defenseman

NHL: Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It was officially announced Monday night that Florida Panthers star defenseman Aaron Ekblad underwent successful surgery to repair a fracture in his lower extremities and is expected to be out of the lineup for twelve weeks.

This is the result of an injury he suffered Sunday night against the Dallas Stars. It’s not exactly surprising after how bad the injury looked and it is just brutal news for a Panthers’ team that has their sights on a deep playoff run. It will require surgery to repair his left leg fracture.

In terms of point production, Ekblad was having the best season of his career. He finishes the season with 11 goals, 11 assists, and 22 points in 35 games. This is devastating for the 25-year-old defenseman who has been excellent for the Panthers.

This certainly doesn’t eliminate the Panthers’ playoff chances and playoff run alike, but there is no doubt it will be difficult without their polarizing defenseman.

It is honestly very unfortunate that it occurs the same season that the Cats are looking to make a big run.

This leaves a massive hole on the Panthers' right-side. One would have to wonder if they will be actively searching for a right-shot defenseman ahead of the deadline. will be very interesting to see how much this changes their 2021 Trade Deadline plans.

One name they could pursue is Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. He’s 26-years-old, a right-shot, and has term on his contract. While this is highly unlikely, it is something that could work money-wise. The Wild on the other hand will have to expose the polarizing defenseman in the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft unless they want to protect eight skaters and expose a young player like Jordan Greenway which is highly unlikely.

It wouldn’t affect Florida’s playoff run as the Wild would be more than likely looking for futures. Would the Panthers be willing to part ways with their 2021 first-round pick and a prospect to salvage their right-side? It is highly unlikely, but something they could consider to help boost their team’s playoff chances with their cornerstone defenseman sidelined for the season.

There are certainly other players not named Dumba they could explore too to help their bolster the back end as well, with names like Mattias Ekholm and David Savard garnering buzz.