After a poor season last year, Aaron Ekblad will look to Bob Boughner for advice to help improve his game. Ekblad cannot afford another bad year.
After struggling in large parts of the season last year, Aaron will turn to a close friend of his (Bob Boughner) in order to seek help and guidance. Ekblad and Bob go all the way back to “Junior days” and would chat often.
With Bob expected to help the Panthers get back on track, it’s also important to get the best out of Aaron. As we know, Ekblad is our best defenseman and certainly one of our best players on the roster. Not too long ago (2014), was the year in which we took him first overall in the draft. His first two years were good (especially his first) and never failed to impress us. Unfortunately, it was his 3rd year where he hit a bump in the road and lost some swagger.
If there is one individual who can bring the best out of the young defenseman, it’s certainly Bob. He has a rich history for coaching/developing young players (as seen in the OHL). He is a guy who should have no trouble coaching our group of guys, especially Aaron. Ekblad knows he’ll have to be all “eyes and ears”, if he’s going to bounce back from last season.
Some are worried about “Ek” and don’t know if he can still play at the level he’s capable of. Having multiple concussions certainly does not help matters either. This brings me back to when Huberdeau was struggling on the Cats. It was his sophomore year (2nd season) in the NHL, when young Jonathan hit the so-called “sophomore slump”. His production and level of play went down, which ended up concerning fans. A few, wanted to trade him. Others, weren’t sure.
It was in his 3rd year with the Cats when the Panthers hired Gerald Gallant. Gallant previously coached Huberdeau in the QMJHL (St. John Sea Dogs), and they both won the Memorial Cup together. Needless to say, during their first year together with the Cats, young Huby ended the year off with 54 points (career high at the time). A 26 point difference between the two figures (54 and 28). In result of all of this, just look at Jonathan now. Striving like never before.
Aaron now has a mentor who can help him the same way Gallant helped Jonathan. Avoiding injuries will be key, but staying close to Bob should positively affect Ekblad. Jack Capuano (known for his defensive system) shall also be another go to guy for Aaron to talk with. Jack will more than likely be responsible for implementing a defensive system. Him and Aaron will also work closely together, as he instructs the defense on what he wants out of them.
Overall, giving up on Aaron after one season would be ridiculous. He’s shown us what he’s capable of and with a little redirection to steer him on the right path really shouldn’t be hard to do. If Ekblad continues to seek advice from coaches and takes baby strides towards lifting himself back up to where he once was, then don’t be surprised if you see a new Aaron Ekblad in South Florida next year.