Tag: Florida Panthers

Florida first: Ekblad takes home Calder Memorial Trophy


Aaron Ekblad is the first defenseman since Tyler Myers (2009-10) to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie.

The blue liner becomes the first Panthers’ defenseman to take home the award.

“The competition is pretty unreal for this award and there are a couple of names who were left out who definitely could have made a case for it,” Ekblad told the Sun-Sentinel recently. “It’s pretty cool to see who wins it.

“I’ve been able to share this with my family and everything so whether I win or lose it’s been a great experience for sure.”

Ekblad led all NHL rookie defenders in goals (12), power play goals (six), power play points (13) and shots (170). The 19-year-old also finished second in assists, plus-minus (+12), hits (109) and blocked shots (80), all while averaging 21:48 of ice time per game.

He eclipsed Ed Jovanovski’s 19-year franchise record for goals and points by a rookie defenseman.

Ekblad beat out Ottawa Senators’ rookie Mark Stone and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.

Here are the full voting results:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)

1. Aaron Ekblad, FLA 1147 (71-39-24-12-8)
2. Mark Stone, OTT 1078 (47-49-46-11-2)
3. Johnny Gaudreau, CGY 1026 (33-57-48-19-0)
4. Filip Forsberg, NSH 594 (6-9-37-91-13)
5. John Klingberg, DAL 127 (0-2-1-15-63)
6. Mike Hoffman, OTT 57 (0-1-1-5-30)
7. Kevin Hayes, NYR 15 (0-0-0-1-12)
8. Michael Hutchinson, WPG 13 (0-0-0-1-10)
9. Anders Lee, NYI 12 (0-0-0-1-9)
10. Jake Allen, STL 10 (0-0-0-1-7)
11. Bo Horvat, VAN 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
12. Adam Lowry, WPG 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

No parka needed: Players ponder possible NHL team in Vegas

2015 NHL Awards - Trophy Display

The drive to bring an NHL team to Las Vegas one way or another has been a big story for some time, yet it only makes sense that the subject is cropping up when much of the hockey world is fighting off sunburns and/or hangovers in Sin City as we speak.

While the process – which would likely come via expansion – is creeping along slowly, players seem intrigued by the idea … and maybe a little frightened.

For one thing, Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Ladd pointed to the obvious weather advantages, as the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno reports.

“You talk to any human, whether they play hockey or not, they’d rather go to work in shorts and a T-shirt than a parka,” Ladd said.

(One almost wonders if Jets fans collectively cringed at that commentary, although at least he was discussing parkas and not parks.)

The Las Vegas Review-Journal collected a few players’ thoughts on the matter (from Carey Price praising a “glamour city” to Jonathan Toews’ typically serious approach), including Florida Panthers rookie Aaron Ekblad discussing the rather obvious about temptations.

“I think there are a lot of places where you can get in trouble,” Ekblad said. “We’re professionals. I think we can learn to adapt to working and living in a place like Las Vegas.”

Honestly, Ekblad’s teammate Roberto Luongo probably said it best, though:

Even if Vegas does get a team, it will take a while. It sounds like quite a few players would be more than fine – though a little apprehensive – about such a concept.

Sens inquired about Coyotes’ third overall selection

Bryan Murray

With the NHL Draft just days away now trade talk between teams is picking up.

Arizona Coyotes’ GM Don Maloney holds the third overall pick at Friday’s draft and hasn’t closed the door on dealing the selection for the right price.

Bryan Murray told reporters in Vegas on Tuesday that he had conversations with Maloney about the pick.

“I always ask the question, but I don’t think that pick in particular is in play at this point for us,” Murray said. “I think where we’re picking back at 18, that would be hard for him to move that far no matter what price I paid, but we have to ask the question anyway.”

Murray is currently in the process of trying to unload either Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. The Sens’ general manager said Lehner is getting the most attention at this point.

“People look at the price and maybe look at other things, but Robin Lehner is a hell of a goaltender,” said Murray. “He’s going to perform given a chance, whether it be him getting the chance right away either with us or another team, he’s going to be a good goaltender.”

Lehner is considered to be more attractive than Anderson based on cap hit. The 23-year-old has two years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $2.225 million while Anderson has three years remaining at a cap it of $4.2 million.

“There’s going to be a couple moves. I think there’s three goaltenders really in play at the moment and there are a couple teams that are looking so what will happen based on that, I don’t know,” Murray said. “I think we should be the first choice.

“I think we’ve got the best guy. That’s my feeling and I’m very strong about that, but maybe not everybody looks at it that way.”

Zibanejad & Stone update

Murray met with Craig Oster the agent for restricted free agents Mika Zibanejad and Mark Stone on Tuesday in Vegas.

“We’ve made proposals once again and waiting on a reply I think they were going to talk to the players and see what happens,” said Murray.

Murray joked about Sens’ captain Erik Karlsson signing his seven-year, $45.5 million extension the night before the NHL Awards in Vegas back in June 2012 and the luck it brought him on awards night (he won the Norris Trophy).

“Well if Mark Stone is smart, he signs and he might win the award cause that’s what happened with Erik,” Murray said. “Maybe that’ll be the case.”

Stone is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the league’s top rookie along with Aaron Ekblad and Johnny Gaudreau.

Arbitration for Hoffman & Chiasson

While Murray is making progress with Zibanejad and Stone, the same can’t be said for restricted free agents Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson.

“We talk to them all the time, but they’re arbitration guys that, at the moment, want to go that direction,” Murray said. “If we’re not going to negotiate, then we have to prepare for that.”