On November 11th 2018, the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers finalized a deal that send young defenseman Aaron Ekblad to Beantown in exchange for a 2019 1st round pick (previously acquired from the New York Rangers), Boston’s own 2nd round pick in 2020 as well as the Rangers’ 3rd round pick, also in 2020.
GM Gallant had been long-rumoured to be on the lookout for a defenseman recently. The Bruins were tied to conversations with Colorado regarding holdout Jake Muzzin, but Ekblad brings not only youth to the table, but an all-around game. “Giving up 3 draft picks here was a no-brainer for us,” GM Gallant said. “The upcoming draft isn’t expected to be too deep, and we never intended on using all those picks exlusively for drafting. Besides, what are the chances of drafting a player like Ekblad? He’ll be manning our blue-line for a long time.”
Ekblad, 22, has 3 goals and 4 assists 15 games this season, all in the AHL. The Panthers, who are near the CAP ceiling, needed to send a player down to stay CAP compliant. Because of his age and waiver eligibility, Ekblad was demoted before the season started. Having just signed a 2 year contract prior to the start of the season, Ekblad was under the impression that he was going to be a big part of Florida’s success this season. Despite his young age, he has played 230 NEFHL games already, totaling 95 points.
“He wasn’t happy,” GM Gallant said. “I spoke to Aaron shortly after the trade call went through. He’s got a chip on his shoulder and he’s anxious to prove that he deserves to be in the best league in the world. I’m happy to be able to facilitate that for him, that’s for sure.”
Ekblad is set to make his Bruins debut when he joins the team Tuesday night in Dallas when the Stars host the Bruins in the 2nd game of Boston’s 4 game road trip.