SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers General Manager Tom Rowe announced today that the Panthers have signed defenseman Aaron Ekblad to an eight-year contract extension. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“We are very excited to sign Aaron to a multi-year contract,” said Rowe. “He is an exceptionally skilled, intelligent and mature young player that is a difference maker for our team both on and off the ice. Aaron is an integral part of the foundation of our future and a cornerstone player who is continuing to develop into a true leader and one of the league’s elite defensemen.”
The 20-year old defenseman led all Panthers defensemen in scoring during the 2015-16 season, recording 36 points and a career-high 15 goals in 78 games. Ekblad recorded his eighth career game-winning goal on April 9, 2016 vs. Carolina to set a new franchise record for game-winning goals scored by a defenseman, passing Ed Jovanovski’s previous record of seven game-winners.
In 2014-2015, the 6-foot-4, 216-pound native of Windsor, Ontario became only the second player in franchise history to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s most outstanding rookie. Ekblad set franchise records for most goals (12), assists (27) and points (39) recorded by a rookie defenseman. Ekblad became the youngest defenseman to win the Calder trophy since Bobby Orr in 1967 and was two points shy of tying Orr’s NHL record for most points recorded by a rookie defenseman who began their career at 18 years old.
Ekblad has recorded 75 points (27-48-75) in 159 career games and one assist in six career playoff games. He was originally selected by Florida in the first round (first overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.