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 by the Bruins from the New York Rangers), Boston’s own 2nd round pick in 2020 as well as the Rangers’ 3rd round pick, also in 2020.
The Panthers GM has been quietly mulling options for the young defenseman since the start of the season, and recently the decision was made to explore trade opportunities. “There are several factors that played into the final decision to trade Ekblad” said Trev “and although it wasn’t an easy move to make, we felt ultimately that the Panthers would benefit both in the short term and the long term by pulling the trigger”.
In the short term, the move opens up cap space for the team and creates opportunity to be one of the most active teams on the trade market heading into the season’s trade deadline. The team now has 3 first round picks in the upcoming draft, two of which at this point of the season sit inside the lottery. These picks, along with a deep prospect pool, are likely to be leveraged in some way in future trades.
In the longer term, the team starts the lay the ground work for what is going to be a pivotal summer for the team as some huge names become restricted free agents: Mark Stone, Brayden Point, Jack Eichel, Vincent Trocheck and Colton Parayko to name a few.
“Some tough decisions are going to need to be made, such is the reality of a hard cap league. By being proactive in moving Ekblad, we are trying to get ahead of the curve and recoup assets for players we can no longer afford next season, while positioning ourselves to bolster our roster in the short term using the additional cap space."