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With Ekblad hurt, who could the Panthers get at the trade deadline?



Florida Panthers trade Ekblad
Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Nashville d-man Mattias Ekholm battle in front of the net in a game at BB&T Center earlier this month. // Photo by Roger Topalian 21st Century Photography (561) 488-0000

The Florida Panthers are in the thick of a playoff race in the NHL Central with the trade deadline coming soon. After losing Aaron Ekblad to a serious injury Sunday night, the Panthers have to be considered serious buyers on the market.

Make no mistake, the Panthers are definitely in go-for-it mode.

The window to winning a Stanley Cup doesn’t open often — especially when it comes to the Panthers.

General manager Bill Zito, coach Joel Quenneville and — perhaps most importantly — owner Vinnie Viola believe this team is as close to the promised land as it has been since 1996.

That was true before Ekblad appeared to seriously injury his left leg Sunday night in Dallas and it is true today.

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