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Trade, Injuries Mean New Roles for Florida Panthers Defensemen

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Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas is on a boat — modeling the team’s new Reverse Retro jersey. With Aaron Ekblad out, Florida’s defensemen will be taking on new roles. — Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — When the Florida Panthers could not afford to keep Ben Chiarot and Robert Hagg before trading defenseman MacKenzie Weegar over the summer, it was apparent the team’s defensemen were going to have to adjust to new roles this season.

A few games in and things have already been flipped.

Brandon Montour has missed the past two games with what is considered a minor injury but one that left the team with just five defensemen Monday night in Boston.

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Then Aaron Ekblad got hurt in the second period of that game leaving Florida even more shorthanded.

Ekblad is now on long-term injured reserve and is going to miss at least the next month.

”We have had a few unfortunate events,’’ Radko Gudas said. “I think everyone in the organization worked their bag off in the summer to get this opportunity here and now some guys are going to get bigger opportunities to step up and play roles perhaps they would not if everyone was healthy. It’s time for everyone to show what they’ve got.”

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