Florida Panthers writer Jameson Olive reports that Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad still needs to be cleared to play against the Washington Capitals.
Bruno said things are looking good in terms of having a full lineup tomorrow. Ekblad still needs to be cleared, and Marchment also needs a positive report after practice, but things look good.— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) May 2, 2022
Ekblad has been sidelined with a lower-body injury and last played on March 18. He led all Panthers’ defensemen in points with 15 goals and 42 assists despite the layoff. Ekblad was a full participant in Sunday’s practice and was on the ice again on Monday. Once cleared, he should join MacKenzie Weegar as Florida’s top pairing.
Ekblad’s return to the lineup is huge for the Panthers. The 2014 first overall pick is the team’s best defenseman and averaged almost 25 minutes of ice-time during the regular season. It seems that Ekblad could be ready for Game 1, but it’s understandable if Florida plays it safe with their star defenseman.
Florida won the Presidents’ Trophy with a 122-point season and had the highest goal differential in the league at +94.
Over at FanDuel Sportsbook, the Florida Panthers are -220 against the Washington Capitals for Game 1 on Tuesday.