The Panthers sent forward Michal Repik to waivers this morning, with the intention of sending him back to AHL affiliate San Antonio to help them continue their push towards a playoff spot. Repik, who has seen several call-up stints with the big club, played some of his best hockey for the Panthers during this recent stretch, posting several points and doing a lot of little things well. During a time where much of the Panther lineup has been struggling and seemingly lacking the work ethic of the first half of the season, Repik's play was a breath of fresh air and he clearly played as though he had a job to win.
So why was he sent down?
His demotion was expected as many of the veteran players return from injury, but to me this sends a bit of a confusing message to the fans and maybe even the players. We've heard time and time again that players needed to earn their ice time, and there's no question that Repik had done just that. Sure, there are few other options on the roster that could be sent down and all of them are seemingly staying, and the Panthers can only keep 23 guys on the active roster. But should the lineup shuffle punish the guys that are working hard and making a difference? To me, that's counterproductive for the team and counter-intuitive to what the mantra was to start the season.
I suppose we'll see. Maybe I'll be eating crow as Sean Bergenheim, Jack Skille, Scottie Upshall and Marco Sturm come back and start scoring every game. Regardless, the Rampage will welcome Repik back with open arms, and the Panthers will miss his work ethic, something they seem to be lacking for entire games lately.