NHL notes: Aaron Ekblad must earn spot with Panthers

Aaron Ekblad puts on a team jersey after being selected as the number one overall pick by the...

Aaron Ekblad puts on a team jersey after being selected as the number one overall pick by the Panthers at the NHL Draft in Philadelphia on June 27, 2014. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

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, Last Updated: 10:58 PM ET

If Aaron Ekblad wants a spot on the Florida Panthers' opening-night roster he'll have to earn it.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon will give the No. 1 overall draft pick every opportunity to make the team, but won't hesitate to send the defenceman back to junior if he isn't ready for the NHL.

"We'll have a good, long look at him at training camp," Tallon told the Miami Herald. "If he's ready, he's ready. If not, well, (Jonathan) Huberdeau went back. Guys come back better players."

Tallon drafted Huberdeau third overall in 2011, but he was sent back to the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs after his first training camp. The winger returned for the lockout-shortened 2013 season to score 31 points in 48 games and win the Calder Trophy.

Tallon might be patient with his prospects, but Ekblad is hoping to make a quick impression.

"I have the opportunity and I just need to run with it," the 18-year-old said.

BOYLE OVER

Dan Boyle wanted to finish his career in a place where hockey matters.

The 37-year-old defenceman, who has only played for the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks, said he took less money to sign with the New York Rangers on July 1.

"That's where I wanted to go," he said during a conference call with New York reporters. "That is the simplest way I can put it. Once I found out I was done in San Jose, that's the team that kind of jumped out. That's the team that I've always been curious about.

"I've played in Florida and California — two nontraditional hockey markets. Those places were great, but I just wanted to experience something different. An Original Six team. You can make more money elsewhere, but at the end of the day you've got to be happy."

Boyle signed a two-year, $9 million contract with the Rangers. The 16-year veteran scored 36 points in 75 games with the Sharks last season. He won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Lightning in 2004.

SUB ZERO

The agent for Montreal Canadiens star defenceman P.K. Subban, who recently filed for salary arbitration, tells QMI Agency that negotiations with the team are ongoing and will probably continue right up until the arbitration hearing.

“The negotiations will continue leading up to the arbitration date,” said Don Meehan.

The date for the hearing hasn’t been decided yet, but will be somewhere between July 20 and August 4.

Meehan didn’t want to get into details, but he told QMI that he believes that both sides will come to an agreement before the arbitration hearing.

Subban, the 2012-13 Norris Trophy winner and 2014 Olympic gold medallist, had 10 goals and 43 assists in 2013-14. He also had 14 points in 17 games during the Canadiens’ 2014 playoff run. The Habs were eliminated in the Eastern Conference finals by the New York Rangers.

DYNAMIC DUO

The NHL Central Scouting Service released its futures list of who to keep an eye on for the coming season, and two familiar names top the list.

Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid and Boston University forward Jack Eichel are the headliners.

“McDavid is an exceptional talent and he’s been on display now for the world to see for two years (in the OHL) and he’s lived up to all the expectations that were kind of placed on his shoulders,” Dan Marr of Central Scouting told NHL.com. “That’s not an easy burden for a young man. This year just happens to be his draft year and the expectation is he’ll continue to be the frontrunner for the No. 1 spot. But Jack Eichel has already made known that this is a two-horse race.”

McDavid scored 28 goals and 99 points for the Otters last season. Eichel played with the U.S. U-18 team and had 45 points in 24 games.

You’ll be hearing those two names a lot in the run-up to the 2015 NHL draft.

UNDER THE KNIFE

Los Angeles Kings forward Kyle Clifford had successful surgery to correct a small wrist fracture.

LAKingsInsider.com reported his recovery time would be 6-8 weeks.

Clifford, 23, had three goals and eight points in 71 regular-season games last season. He had a goal and six assists in 24 games en route to the Kings' second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons.

He signed a two-year, $2.15 million deal last summer.

Clifford and Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick — who had surgery to repair a wrist ligament — went under the knife June 24. The Kings didn’t announce Clifford’s injury or clarify how or when it happened.

A second-round pick (No. 35) in the 2009 NHL Draft, Clifford has 22 goals and 48 points in 276 games.


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