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Aaron Ekblad confident in Panthers chances after busy offseason

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The Florida Panthers made major offseason moves to completely revamp their roster and coaching staff.

For the first time in a long time, the team is now considered to be among those expected to be in the mix for a Stanley Cup in 2019/2020. But as the saying goes: with hype comes lofty expectations.

Can the Florida Panthers get the most out of the talent on their roster and live up to what is expected of them? All-Star defenceman Aaron Ekblad is as confident as anybody that the team will be able to deliver.

“Maybe in the past people overlooked us, but right now, I would say we go into this year as the team to beat,” said Ekblad.

“With the players we’ve brought in and the core we have established, I mean, if we don’t win, 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.”

Among the major transactions this offseason includes the hiring of three-time Stanley Cup champion head coach Joel Quenneville, the signing of Vezina Trophy winning defenceman Sergei Bobrovsky, and the additions of veteran defenseman Anton Stralman and forwards  Brett Connolly to add to an already promising young core that includes the likes of Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov, and others.

The Panthers will need to exercise their demons and not let the pressure of living up to expectations get the best of them like it tends to do. Despite having promise for the past several years, they have made the post-season just twice since 2005/06, and have not advanced past the first round since their Stanley Cup final run way back in 1996.

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Why is Pierre-Luc Dubois asking to be traded? | NSS Live with Frank D’Angelo

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On the most recent episode of ‘NSS Live’: Frank D’Angelo, Bill Watters and Phil Esposito discussed the Pierre-Luc Dubois saga in Columbus and why the Blue Jackets forward demanded a trade request out of nowhere.

In case you missed it:


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Bruins to retire Willie O’Ree’s number 22 this season

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The Boston Bruins are set to honor the NHL’s first black player in a big way.

The team announced they are retiring Willie O’Ree’s number 22 and hanging it up in the rafters at TD Garden during a ceremony prior to their game against the New Jersey Devils on February 18.

The 85-year old, who made his NHL debut for the Bruins back in 1958, has already been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame under the builder category.

He ended his brief NHL career with four goals and 10 assists in 45 combined games. He also enjoyed a lengthy career in the WHL with the Los Angeles Blades and San Diego Gulls in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

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Blues officially ink Mike Hoffman to one-year deal

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The St. Louis Blues made it official on Monday.

The team announced that they have signed veteran forward Mike Hoffman to a one-year, $4 million contract. The news comes shortly after he agreed to a professional tryout with the club back on December 27th.

The 31-year old, who has nine seasons of NHL experience under his belt, had spent the past two campaigns with the Florida Panthers and put up solid numbers in that span. In 2019/2020, Hoffman recorded 29 goals and 30 assists in 69 games. The previous season he posted a career-best 36 goals in 82 games.

With that offensive firepower, it was really surprising that it took a team as long as it did to sign the veteran forward. He essentially replaces Vladimir Tarasenko in the Blues’ lineup, who will be out for an indefinite period of time as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

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