Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad played with a broken foot and suffered several other injuries throughout his team’s run to the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals.
Panthers head coach Paul Maurice revealed the extent of Ekblad’s injuries in his media availability after his team dropped the deciding Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 9–3.
According to Maurice, Ekblad broke his foot in the Panthers’ quarterfinal win over the Boston Bruins in April. The 27-year-old missed just one game as the Panthers headed into a Cinderella playoff series within three wins of their first championship.
Maurice also revealed that Ekblad suffered two separate shoulder dislocations and a torn oblique muscle as the Panthers beat the Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes en route to the Finals.
Paul Maurice said Aaron Ekblad suffered a broken foot (in the Boston series), two separate shoulder dislocations and an oblique tear.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 14, 2023
Even dealing with all those injuries, Ekblad averaged 24 minutes a night and had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 20 games for the Panthers in the 2023 playoffs.
The Panthers originally selected Ekblad with the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. The six-foot-four, straight-shooting defenseman has struggled with significant injury issues in recent seasons, but has remained one of the best offensive defensemen in the National Hockey League throughout the season. his career.
Ekblad played 625 games in nine seasons with the Panthers, scoring 111 goals and 329 points. He added three goals and 14 points in 40 career playoff games.
Ultimately, Ekblad and the Panthers will remain in search of their very first Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights beat the Panthers four games to one in the 2023 Finals to win the award for best team in hockey in only their sixth season as an NHL franchise.