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Aaron Ekblad skates with Florida Panthers in New York

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Florida Panthers Aaron Ekblad

ELMONT, N.Y. — Aaron Ekblad joined the Florida Panthers on their road trip to New York and skated with the team during their optional morning skate ahead of Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders.

Ekblad has been out of the lineup since leaving March 18’s game against the Anaheim Ducks with a lower-body injury.

He was placed on LTIR March 20 and is eligible to be activated at any time since the Panthers played at least 10 games over 24 calendar days since his injury.

Of course, the Panthers would be way over the salary cap if Ekblad were to be activated so he will miss the remainder of the regular season regardless.

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Florida coach Andrew Brunette said Ekblad started skating on his own two weeks ago and gave a timeline of either the first or second round of the playoffs for his return.

Ekblad did not look too hindered by his injury while skating with the team on Tuesday morning, as he was firing off slap shots and skating fluidly around the ice while participating in drills.

With the playoffs just two weeks away, the Panthers are eagerly anticipating the return of their star defenseman.

He had 15 goals and 57 points in 61 games prior to going down with his injury.

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