The 2015 Calder Trophy winner has missed the past four games with an upper-body injury. Ekblad was cleared to practice Wednesday.
"I feel good now," Ekblad told the Panthers website. "There were a lot of people helping me and on my side to help me get back in. I feel good and I feel prepared to play at any time. … The biggest thing to focus on now is the fact that I'm better and ready to play."
Bergevin said Price's recovery was going slower than expected but he did not have any setbacks in his rehabilitation.
Price has been out since Nov. 25. If he misses three more weeks, he could return Feb. 12 against the Buffalo Sabres. If its four weeks, it could be Feb. 19 at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"It's been slower than we expected," Bergevin said. "Injuries … everybody's body is different, heal quicker, slower. His position is very demanding for his injury. So it has gone slower. ... We don't have a time frame. We hope to have him back. But he's not here. We have to move forward without Carey."
Yzerman said he has yet to find a taker for Drouin, 20, and there is no timetable for a trade.
"This is obviously not the position we had envisioned," Yzerman said. "Going back to the start of the year, going back to last year and the draft and what not. But for various reasons here we are and we'll deal with it."
The Lightning suspended Drouin indefinitely without pay Wednesday for failing to report to an American Hockey League game between the Syracuse Crunch and Toronto Marlies.
Financial terms were not released, but TSN reported Paille agreed on a two-way contract worth $575,000 in the NHL and $100,000 in the American Hockey League. He will travel with the Rangers to Raleigh, N.C., for their game Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes but it's unclear if he'll play, coach Alain Vigneault said.
Paille, 31, was with the Chicago Blackhawks during training camp on a professional tryout agreement before he was cut. He signed with Rockford, the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, had one goal and four points in 31 games. He also helped Canada win the Spengler Cup in December.
Ference, 36, has played six games this season, none since Nov. 27. He's in the third season of a four-year contract with the Oilers that has an average annual value of $3.25 million, according to war-on-ice.com.
Ference was named captain in 2013 after signing with the Oilers as a free agent. He had the role taken from him this season when the Oilers opted for four alternate captains: Ference, and forwards Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Keon and representatives from the Horton and Broda families will be honoured in a pre-game ceremony Saturday night as the latest Legends Row inductees are introduced to fans when the Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre.
* At 28-15-7 (63 points), the Blues moved into a tie with the idle Dallas Stars (29-13-5, 63 points) in terms of points for second place in the Central Division. Dallas, however, holds three games in hand and owns the regulation/overtime win tiebreaker (DAL: 27, STL: 25).
* Brian Elliott made 29 saves to earn his fifth win in his past six starts and improve to 10-5-4 with a 2.03 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and one shutout this season.
* Ty Rattie, a second-round selection (No. 32) in the 2011 NHL Draft, scored for the third time in his last four games after going without a goal in his first 18 NHL games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning suspended forward Jonathan Drouin indefinitely without pay Wednesday for failing to report to an American Hockey League game between the Syracuse Crunch and Toronto Marlies.
Drouin, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, has been with Syracuse since Jan. 2. A trade request made on his behalf by his agent in November was revealed the next day.
Tampa Bay said it will have no further comment.
Drouin's agent, Allan Walsh, released a statement that said in part, "We proposed to Tampa that Jonathan not play in the next few AHL games but continue practicing with the club to avoid any potential injury from preventing an imminent trade. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Lightning refused this reasonable request, however, Jonathan was not willing to accept this risk."
Introducing the new official NHL App, available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets. A host of new features and improved functionality are available across all platforms, including a redesigned league-wide scoreboard, expanded news coverage, searchable video highlights, individual team experiences* and more. The new NHL App on your tablet also introduces new offerings such as 60fps video, Multitasking** and Picture-in-Picture.
*Available only for smartphones
** Available only for suported iPads