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Florida Panthers Wrap: Injury Updates, Arena Name Change & More

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Defensemen Brandon Montour, left, and Aaron Ekblad both had surgery following the Stanley Cup Final. // Photos by Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

Last Friday, FHN spoke with Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito about his upcoming third anniversary with the team but also caught up on some hockey matters including injury updates.

Although Zito did not give a specified timeline on either Aaron Ekblad or Brandon Montour, he did say that neither would be ready for the first game of the season.

Both players, who each had shoulder surgery, should be back before the All-Star break.

Although Zito did not say anything specific regarding either player, the belief is Montour will be the first to return.

“The two D are status quo,’’ Zito said. “I think you are safe to say November to January is the range as long as they continue to progress in September and October.’’

As for Sam Bennett, who was pictured in a walking boot, Zito said “my understanding is he is fine.”

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Eetu Luostarinen has already been skating in Europe after he got hurt in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Carolina and Matthew Tkachuk is expected to be ready to go when camp opens on Sept. 20.

“What I get is,’’ Zito said, “is that everyone is on schedule.”

LAST WEEK’S PANTHERS NEWS

The big news to come out of the Panthers this past week was the leaking of the new name of the arena.

According to a photo taken of the fresh ice put down in the arena which was on Facebook, the venue will now be called Amerant Bank Arena.

The Panthers would not confirm the news as it apparently has not been finalized as of yet — but that could come as early as today with an official announcement by the end of the week.

— ESPN did its season predictions for point totals for various players and our Colby D. Guy looked at Florida’s forwards and did not agree with some of their assessments. Defensemen are coming soon.

— The Panthers are expected to invite at least one veteran player to training camp on a PTO and Phil Kessel has made it known that he does not expect to keep his IronMan streak going if he lands with a new team this season.

— Two years ago, the Panthers did not have a single nationally televised game when the initial schedule came out but this year, Florida has seven games on TNT, ESPN or ABC.

— A pair of former players with ties to the Panthers are close to hanging them up.

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

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