With one preseason game left, the Florida Panthers announced the reduction of their training camp roster by 5 players, now down to 30.
Included in this round of cuts were notables Spencer Knight and Grigori Denisenko, as well as Alexander True, Matt Kiersted, and William Lockwood.
The Panthers will need to further reduce their roster size by at least 7 more players to get down to the maximum roster size of 23 players before the season starts, either through cutting or placing on Injured Reserve (Ekblad and Montour). But for now, the 30 players still with the team are as follows.
Forwards (17): Anton Lundell, Aleksander Barkov, Brett Ritchie, Carter Verhaeghe, Eetu Luostarinen, Evan Rodrigues, Jonah Gadjovich, Justin Sourdif, Kevin Stenlund, Mackie Samoskevich, Matthew Tkachuk, Nick Cousins, Ryan Lomberg, Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart, Steven Lorentz, Zac Dalpe
Defensemen (11): Aaron Ekblad, Brandon Montour, Casey Fitzgerald, Dmitry Kulikov, Gustav Forsling, John Ludvig, Josh Mahura, Mike Reilly, Niko Mikkola, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Uvis Balinskis
Goalies (2): Anthony Stolarz, Sergei Bobrovsky
With the opening night roster beginning to take shape, let’s look at some takeaways from who does, and does not, remain with the team.
No concern over Knight’s AHL assignment
Spencer Knight’s inclusion in this round of cuts may have come as a surprise to some, but the team indicated that this was always the plan.
Even though Knight has been solid in his preseason appearances since exiting the Player Assistance Program, the team has the luxury of Knight being waiver exempt, thus allowing him to get truly meaningful game experience under him, in the AHL, before he gets thrown back into the thick of the NHL.
Antony Stolarz, in the meantime, is a capable backup to Sergei Bobrovsky, and assuming all goes well in the AHL, I would expect to see Knight back with the Florida Panthers before long.
Samoskevich has all but officially made the Florida Panthers roster
Mackie Samoskevich has done nothing but impress since signing with the Panthers in the spring. From his short AHL stint at the end of last season, to the rookie showcase, and now the preseason, Samoskevich has shown that he has the potential to be an NHLer right out of the gate.
Grigori Denisenko would have been thought to have had the inside track on making the team after playing 19 NHL games last season, but his placement on waivers, with the intent to assign him to AHL Charlotte, all but guarantees Samoskevich will have a spot on the team for the opening day roster.
Looking further into the forwards that remain, Dalpe, Gadjovich, and Ritchie are longshots, thus bringing the forwards in the mix for the 12-14 open spots down to 14.
Factor in Samoskevich likely being favored over Sourdif — who is having an impressive preseason in his own right — and Bennett’s uncertain health after exiting Thursday’s preseason game, and it becomes hard to see how Samoskevich does not start the season in the NHL.
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