SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that Florida Panthers forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck and Panthers defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle have been named the club’s alternate captains. Trocheck and Yandle will begin the season as alternate captains for Panthers home games, Ekblad and Huberdeau will begin the season as alternate captains for Panthers road games.
“It’s time for our young players to step into leadership roles on this team and I know that they’re ready for this challenge,” said Tallon. “Including our captain Aleksander Barkov , four of the five members of our formal leadership group are 25-years-old or younger, which is a testament to our bright future. This group is just entering the prime of their careers and together they’ve learned what it takes to lead a team in the NHL. I’m excited to watch them work together toward our goal of bringing a Stanley Cup to South Florida.”
“We have some talented young leaders who are ready to take ownership of our team,” said Panthers Head Coach Bob Boughner. “This group’s makeup reflects the development and maturity of our young players. We have high expectations and I’m excited for this group to continue to grow as players and leaders this season.”
Huberdeau, 25, appeared in a career-high 82 games with Florida in 2017-18, producing career-bests in goals (27) goals, assists (42) and points (69). The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Saint-Jerome, Quebec, has played in 385 career NHL games since making his debut with Florida in 2012-13, amassing 267 points (95-172-267). In 2012-13, Huberdeau received the Calder Memorial Trophy awarded to “the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League”, marking him as the first-ever Panthers player to receive the honor in NHL history.
Originally selected by Florida in the first round (third overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Huberdeau enters the season ranking sixth in Panthers franchise history in assists and eighth in points.
Trocheck, 25, appeared in his second consecutive 82-game season with Florida in 2017-18, registering a career-best and team-leading 31 goals, while serving as one of Florida’s road alternate captains. The 2017 NHL All-Star’s career-high 75 points ranked second on the Panthers, while his 13 power-play goals, 27 power-play points, 287 shots and 145 hits led the team. No Panther logged more total power-play TOI than Trocheck (285:13) and on home ice, he led the Panthers in points (44), while tying with Huberdeau for home goals (17).
Originally selected by Florida in the third round (64th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, the 5-foot-10, 186-pound native of Pittsburgh, Pa., is currently the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in Panthers franchise history, entering the season with 91 goals, 121 assists and 212 points over his 310 career NHL games in a Panthers uniform.
Ekblad, 22, appeared in a career-high 82 games with Florida in 2017-18, scoring a career-best 16 goals and posting 38 points, while serving as one of Florida’s road alternate captains. Ekblad’s 16 goals tied him for fourth among all NHL defensemen in goals and tied the Panthers franchise single-season goals record by a defenseman (Jason Garrison, 16 goals, 2011-12). The 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of Windsor, Ontario, led all Panthers defensemen in goals, power-play goals (5), game-winning goals (4) and shots (189), while leading the team in total even-strength TOI (1,559:42) and shorthanded TOI (183:49).
Among defensemen in Panthers franchise history, the two-time NHL All-Star (2015, 2016) enters the season ranking tied for second in goals (53) and third in power-play goals (18), while standing at sixth in points (134) and seventh in assists (81) over his 309 career NHL games, all with the Panthers. Ekblad owns the Panthers franchise record for game-winning goals by a defenseman (14).
Originally selected first overall by Florida in the 2014 NHL Draft, Ekblad made his NHL debut as an 18-year old in the 2014-15 season. In his rookie campaign he participated in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game and became the first-ever defenseman in Panthers franchise history to win the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Yandle, 32, appeared in his fifth consecutive 82-game season in 2017-18 with Florida, producing 56 points and 48 assists to lead all Panthers defensemen, while serving as one of Florida’s home alternate captains. Yandle’s 56 points and 48 assists each fell one shy of tying the Panthers single-season records by a defenseman (Robert Svehla, 57 points, 49 assists, 1995-96, Brian Campbell, 49 assists, 2011-12). The 6-foot-1, 191-pound native of Boston, Mass., enters the season as the NHL’s active leader in consecutive regular season games played (715), a streak that stands as seventh all-time in NHL history. The two-time NHL All-Star (2011, 2012) has played in 825 career NHL games with Florida (2016-17 to 2017-18), the New York Rangers (2014-15 to 2015-16) and the Arizona/Phoenix Coyotes (2006-07 to 2014-15).
Originally selected in the fourth round (105th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft by Phoenix, Yandle ranks first in power-play points (202), fourth in assists (379) and fifth in points (464) among NHL defensemen from 2007-08 to 2017-18. Among Panthers defensemen in franchise history, Yandle enters the season at sixth in assists (84) and 10th in points (97).
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