The Florida Panthers announced their training camp roster for the 2021 season on Saturday morning.
There were not too many surprises on the roster.
The big omissions, of course, are forwards Aleksi Saarela and Henrik Borgstrom.
But we kind of figured both players were going to stay in their native Finland for the remainder of this season.
While Borgstrom was not expected to be part of the Panthers this season, Saarela is a bit of a surprise. He was a player whom Joel Quenneville really seemed to like and was giving playing time to in the Toronto bubble.
But, as one Florida player told me, it was going to be hard to get a player like that to leave home with all the uncertainty of this season — and their own spot on the team.
It appears it is as simple as Saarela wasn’t sure where he fit in with the Panthers. He felt better off just staying where he was and getting a great chance.
Playing for Lukko, Saarela has 12 goals and 18 points in 19 games and is tied for 11th in the league in scoring.
The Liiga stat page lists that Saarela is injured, so we will get an update from GM Bill Zito later this afternoon.
Anton Lundell, Florida’s first round pick in 2020, is currently playing in the World Juniors and is also not expected to join the Panthers this season.
He has 12 goals and 20 points in 17 Liiga games for HIFK, good for fifth in the league.
As for Borgstrom, he has only played in six games for his hometown HIFK squad with a goal and three points.
Borgstrom was hurt at the end of the 2019-20 season with AHL Springfield and it took him a while to get healthy enough to get into their lineup. He may be sideline right now as well.
The Panthers will officially report to training camp on Sunday with the first on-ice workout coming Monday.
Florida will open its season Jan. 14 against the Dallas Stars at BB&T Center.
The Panthers’ first practice of training camp will be held at the arena with the thought that the entirety of camp will be at BB&T Center and not the IceDen in Coral Springs.
This would be the first training camp to be held at the arena and not the practice facility in franchise history.