Aaron EkbladD | Panthers
Panthers' Aaron Ekblad: Sets new career highMay 14, 2020 | 11:31 PM
Ekblad set a new career high in assists (36) and points (41) in 67 games before play was paused in mid-March. How on earth is this guy still just 24? Ekblad has now skated in six full NHL campaigns and finally looks to be the 50-point threat the Panthers hoped they were drafting first overall back in 2014. It probably helps that he's not expected to the shoulder the majority of the offensive load from the back end thanks to veteran Keith Yandle and his 45 points, and first-year Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville historically knows how to get a lot out of his blueliners (see: Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook). For an influence of Coach Q on Ekblad's game, look no further than the hit column -- he's recorded just 34 after 114 last year, suggesting a renewed, more disciplined focus toward offense. It also doesn't hurt that Ekblad has Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, who sit 10th and 30th in league scoring (respectively) to dish the puck to on a regular basis, either.
Source: CBS Sports