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Florida Panthers make roster cuts as season-opener approaches

The Florida Panthers placed six players on waivers and assigned exempt prospect Logan Hutsko to the Charlotte Checkers in advance of the club needing to submit a salary cap compliant roster ($82.5 million) at 5 p.m. this afternoon.

Getting waived from Panthers camp were goaltender Alex Lyon; defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Lucas Carlsson; and forwards Chris Tierney, Gerald Mayhew and Aleksi Heponiemi, who scored in the last two preseason games.

Those players will need to clear waivers later today to join the Checkers. While most players make it through, I’m a little bit concerned the Cats will lose Heponiemi and/or Carlsson as both players look to be NHL ready.

As of this moment, Eric Staal (PTO) has not been signed to a contract and prospect Matt Kiersted, who has a cap hit $50K less than that of Carlsson is still in Sunrise.

So, who is still on the Panthers? As of this morning the roster, which is over the cap, looks like this:

Forwards (15): Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart, Matthew Tkachuk, Anton Lundell, Rudolfs Balcers, Sam Bennett, Eetu Luostarinen, Ryan Lomberg, Colin White, Nick Cousins, Patric Hornqvist, Anthony Duclair, Zac Dalpe, Justin Sourdif

Defensemen (6): Aaron Ekblad, Gustav Forsling, Brandon Montour, Radko Gudas, Marc Staal, Matt Kiersted

Goaltenders (2): Sergei Bobrovsky, Spencer Knight

We know Duclair’s $3 million cap hit is going on LTIR, but the Cats are going to need to shave more dollar bills ya’ll to be under the limit. Simply sending down Dalpe and Sourdif gets them there and leaves the team with a roster of 20 players (12F – 6D – 2G) and roughly $500K in cap space. Both of those players, and some other regulars have been nicked up as of late, so it’s possible we could see additional players go on IR to open up enough space to ink Staal to a league minimum or bring another player or two back from Charlotte so the club has extra in the press box.