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Tallon hopes to avoid arbitration with Hayes, ‘not worried’ about signing Ekblad

Jul 18, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT

Jimmy Hayes Getty Images

Now that the Florida Panthers have inked Dmitry Kulikov to a three-year, $13 million deal, they have six defensemen signed to one-way contracts and another, Alex Petrovic, likely to push hard for a roster spot.

Then there’s Aaron Ekblad. After being taken with the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, it’s safe to say that the 18-year-old is also a serious contender to make the team out of training camp. They have to agree to terms with him first though.

“We’ll wait until rookie camp,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon told the Miami Herald. “He handled himself very well as prospect camp, did a good job. I’m not worried about that. We’ll get him signed when the time comes.”

There is a more immediate matter for Tallon to deal with as forward Jimmy Hayes has an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 29. The Panthers general manager is naturally hoping to re-sign Hayes before it gets to that point.

Hayes, 24, was given an opportunity to play in Florida after years of struggling to find a spot on the deep Chicago Blackhawks and finished the 2013-14 campaign with 11 goals and 18 points in 55 games.

He’s the Panthers last restricted free agent, so after they agree to terms with Hayes and lock up Ekblad, Florida will be set for the preseason, barring a trade.

  1. anthj99 - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Ekblad is another perfect example of a player that could use a year in the AHL, but is hamstringed by the CHL agreement. He’s a man amongst boys in the Juniors and the Panthers aren’t in a position to compete yet so he could excel and keep his confidence high in the AHL while he gets a taste of playing amongst men. He’ll absolutely remain with the big club this year, but playing against other fully developed and bigger, seasoned pros, I hope he can keep up over an 82 game season. If anyone in this draft can, it’s him. I look forward to watching him play and develop.

  2. elrock7 - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    Lets see, Panthers give Dave Bolland 5.75 mil per year for 5 years. I guess Hayes will get 5.74 mil per, for 5 years.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      Hmmm, wonder if Hayes agent will use that oportunistically?

  3. blomfeld - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    “The Iraqis need to be very much involved. They were the people that was brutalized by this man” – George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003

    Sorry all you Panther fans out there, however we Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings can’t ‘seriously’ take you people to be a ‘legitimate’ threat ! :)

  4. hockey168 - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:41 AM


    you already posted that “joke” on another article. Real original. No one cares about your Stanley Cup champ LA Kings when reading this article so just read it and stop being annoying.

    No one likes a bragger

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