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Panthers lose Jonathan Huberdeau for 3-4 months

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Apparent Achilles injury will cost top-line winger the early part of the season

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Islanders Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Word around the Florida Panthers is that first line winger Jonathan Huberdeau could miss the first three or four months of the season with an apparent lacerated Achilles tendon.

Huberdeau was injured in the first period of Saturday’s preseason finale against the New Jersey Devils when Sergey Kalinin’s skate caught him around the ankle.

According to head coach Gerard Gallant, the 23-year-old received stitches and is in a walking boot

It will be interesting to see the how the Cats deal with the loss as they prepare for Thursday’s season-opener

Options for filling Huberdeau’s slot alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr include moving Jussi Jokinen up a line or trying bottom-six players with untapped offensive potential like Jonathan Marchessault or young Jared McCann.

The injuries to Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad, who are both expected to go on injured reserve, leave the Panthers with just one more cut to make to get down to 23 players by Tuesday.

Considering the situation among the forward group, I’d expect that last cut will come from the defense with rookie Ian McCoshen battling Steven Kampfer for the final roster spot. At this point, it makes more sense for McCoshen to hone his game in Springfield, but we’ll see if the Cats feel the same way.