First overall pick Aaron Ekblad suffered an undisclosed upper body injury that will keep him out of the rest of Team Canada’s development camp for this winter’s World Junior Championships, per TSN. Ekblad left the team’s exhibition match against the Czech Republic after absorbing a big hit and did not return. There is no word on how this will affect his approach to Florida Panthers training camp.
Team Canada once again appears to be fully loaded for another World Juniors tournament. They sport 2015 draft phenom Connor McDavid and the top two picks from the 2014 draft, Ekblad and Buffalo Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart, who scored two goals in Canada’s 6-2 win over Czech. Whether or not the WJC team will have Ekblad in the roster come December, when the tournament begins, is another question that depends not only on the injury he suffered, but on his status with the Florida Panthers.
The Panthers remain mired in a slow team rebuild, but there has been strong word from Florida that Ekblad could very well make the team right out of training camp. Those aspirations could be hampered by this injury if it’s a bad one.
If Ekblad does make the Panthers, expect him to be absent from the World Juniors. However, if Ekblad is once more playing with the Barrie Colts in the OHL, expect him to play in the World Juniors, barring further injury or a dire discovery relating to his current injury.