Report: Ekblad views Panthers as 'team to beat' this year

Aaron Ekblad has high hopes for the Florida Panthers in 2019-20. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Aaron Ekblad has high hopes for the Florida Panthers in 2019-20. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

The Florida Panthers have done their absolute best to revamp their roster this summer, and the early forecasts have them among the elite in the Eastern Conference, according to VegasInsider.

The additions of Sergei Bobrovsky, Anton Stralman, Brett Connolly and Noel Acciari, as well as the hire of new head coach Joel Quenneville have made the Panthers one of the most talked about teams in the NHL.

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Three time All-Star Aaron Ekblad kept the hype train rolling with his recent comments about the club, as reported by George Richards of The Athletic.

“Maybe in the past people overlooked us, but right now, I would say we go into this year as the team to beat. With the players we’ve brought in and the core we have established, I mean, if we don’t, you know things are going to go sideways pretty quick. We have to realize and know if we want to stay together, we have to win.”

It’s a pretty bold statement after the Panthers missed the post-season last year. However, a lot has changed since then, and Florida seems poised to get back to the playoffs.

Are they the ‘team to beat’ as the former Barrie Colt stated? That remains to be seen. But it’s easy to understand why he’s so excited. The organization has made the playoffs just once since selecting Ekblad with the first-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

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