The Florida Panthers will be taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Estero, Florida at 7:30 pm ET. The game will be held at Germain Arena the home of the Carolina Hurricanes’ ECHL affiliate the Florida Everblades.
There are a couple of news items to get to today so lets jump right into it:
- The Florida Panthers have sent forward Vincent Trocheck to their AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage. Trocheck was a huge long shot to make the Panthers and the fact that he stuck around as long as he did is indicative of his immense skills. When I wrote about the training camp battles yesterday I had Trocheck squarely on the bubble. The Panthers will likely cut one more forward before the start of the season. I expect the last player cut will be one of the following players: Joey Crabb, Jesse Winchester, Bobby Butler or Quinton Howden.
- The Panthers also placed veteran defenseman Mike Mottau on waivers. If the 35 year old clears waivers, he will be also be assigned to the San Antonio Rampage. Disregarding Ed Jonanovski, who will probably start the season on IR, the Panthers now have seven defenders on their roster. The team probably will not make any more defensive cuts so it looks like bubble guys Tom Gilbert, Colby Robak and Matt Gilroy will make the team.
- Kris Versteeg has been cleared by doctors to make his debut tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will be his first NHL game since injuring his knee six months ago when the Panthers were facing none other than the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- TSN is reporting that the sale of the Panthers to New York businessman Vinnie Viola will be worth $250 million. On Tuesday we reported that the sale will be finalized on Friday and so far that looks to be the case. Also according to TSN, Tim Thomas will sign a contract with the Panthers once the ownership situation is settled.
- One of the bright spots this pre-seaosn has been the play of Erik Gudbranson who has accumulated six points in three games. You can read a nice piece about the young defenseman at the Panthers homepage.
- Last but not least, ex-Panther center John Madden will be joining the team as a pro scout.