Earlier this month, The Rat Trick posted the second edition of our Panthers’ roster projection. Since then not much has changed, however, as the start of training camp rapidly approaches there are some players who look like they may miss some early season action due to injuries. According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, Kris Versteeg (knee) and Ed Jovanovski (hip) will probably not be ready in time for the start of the season. Sean Bergenheim (hip), Drew Shore (wrist) and Dmitry Kulikov (shoulder) will probably be limited at the start of camp and may or may not be ready when the puck drops October 3rd.
Both Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are recovering from off-season surgeries but it appears that they will be ready for the start of camp. With injuries already becoming an issue again for the Panthers I thought it would be wise to take a look at the roster with the injuries factored in. It is safe to assume that Jovo and Versteeg will not be with the Panthers when the season starts so I will leave them off the roster. Shore, Kulikov and Bergenheim are question marks for the start of the season so I will include their names in parenthesis indicating where I think they will be if they are healthy. With that said, here is the roster:
This and That:
- I do not truly believe that Nick Bjugstad will start the year playing wing on the fourth line but i had no other place to put him and at this point I really think he will make the team out of camp, where he plays exactly remains up in the air.
- Same goes for Drew Shore. If he is healthy, I think he has to be in the lineup. If that means he has to be moved to wing then so be it. I have wrestled with where to place Shore and Bjugstad all offseason. The Panthers organization have consistently emphasized that they will be going with their young players but if that is the case, which veterans will lose their spots?
- It is plausible that Shawn Matthias switches to wing. I would rather see him centering the top line but if it means Bjugstad and Shore would have a place on the roster, I’m all for it.
- Vincent Trocheck is a long shot to make the team out of camp but with the potential injuries, his chances improve dramatically. I left him off in this edition of projections, but he is certainly a player to be watched.
- I have the Panthers turning to veteran Mike Mottau to replace veteran Ed Jovanovski on the blue line, but that spot could easily go to Racine or Caruso.
What do you think about this version of the Panthers? With the Panthers crowded at the center position, how do you see the team fitting in Shore and Bjugstad? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or voice your opinion on our Facebook page or on twitter @FansidedTheRat.