The Florida Panthers are set to embark on a busy week that will see them play five of their seven preseason games in a six-day span. That hectic schedule starts today with the Nashville Predators coming to the BB&T Center for a day-night doubleheader. The game times are 2:30 and 7:00 pm ET and each game will feature different rosters.
After the games today, the Panthers will travel to Dallas to take on the Stars on Wednesday night. The team will again face the Stars on Friday but the game will be held in San Antonio at the Panthers’ AHL affiliate’s (the San Antonio Rampage) home rink. Florida wraps up their week on Saturday with a road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Panthers play today’s games with only four practices and one scrimmage under their belts so we should not expect to see a finished product take the ice against Nashville. These early games will be all about settling in and getting used to playing against actual opponents at full speed. Today’s doubleheader will also be an opportunity for some of the players that are buried on the depth chart to demonstrate that they deserve more playing time as the preseason wears on.
Injured/recovering Panthers, Ed Jovanovski, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, and Sean Bergenheim will not be playing in either of the two games today. Here are the rosters for game one and game two courtesy of the Miami Herald. Also missing from these rosters are Kris Versteeg, Mike Weaver, and Brian Campbell. Chances are they are being held out for safety purposes. Versteeg may not be 100% yet and the team knows what they have in Weaver and Campbell so they probably want to let their veterans ease into the preseason schedule.
While the two games allow for more players to get a shot to impress, there is still a group of players who fall victim to the numbers game. Left off the roster were, forwards, Wade Megan, Anthony Luciani, Philippe Cornet, Jonathan Hazen, John McFarland, Mattias Lindstrom and Philippe Lefebvre and defensemen, Jack Combs, Zach Miskovic, Josh McFadden and John Lee.
As far as marquee match ups go, Seth Jones and Aleksander Barkov will both be playing in the second game tonight. This will be the first time the two top five draft picks share the same ice and it will serve as the opening statements for the debate over whether the Panthers were right to pass on Jones to take Barkov, a debate that is sure to rage for the entirety of both players’ careers.
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Also, make sure to check out Razorgator for tickets to this week’s preseason games. You can get in to the day session of the double header for only $4.