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With the Florida Panthers facing a cap crunch, rumors are swirling about a potential Aaron Ekblad trade. Will the former Norris Trophy winner be on the move this offseason?

The Florida Panthers’ run to another Stanley Cup Final has been a captivating story this postseason, but the offseason could bring significant changes to their roster.

With key players like Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour due for new contracts, the Panthers are facing a cap crunch. As a result, rumors are swirling about a potential trade involving former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

Is Aaron Ekblad’s Time in Sunrise Coming to an End?

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun has reported that the Panthers are eager to re-sign both Reinhart and Montour, and believe that Ekblad could be the odd man out. Simmons suggests that the Panthers may look to trade Ekblad and use his $7.5 million cap hit to retain Montour, while Reinhart is expected to sign a “tax-friendly deal” due to Florida’s lack of state income tax.

With a projected $20.8 million in cap space next season and 13 players under contract, the Panthers will need to make some tough decisions. While Ekblad’s talent is undeniable, his hefty contract and 12-team no-trade list could complicate a potential trade. However, with the salary cap expected to rise by $4 million next season, some teams may be willing to take on Ekblad’s contract for the right price.

The Panthers’ front office faces a challenging balancing act as they try to retain their core players while remaining cap compliant. Trading Ekblad would undoubtedly be a difficult decision, but it could be necessary to keep the team competitive in the long run.

Only time will tell if the Panthers pull the trigger on an Ekblad trade, but the rumor mill is already churning. As the offseason unfolds, fans and analysts alike will be watching closely to see how General Manager Bill Zito navigates this complex situation.

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