SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers lost 2018 first-round pick Grigori Denisenko on Saturday afternoon as the forward was claimed off waivers by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Coincidentally, the final game for Denisenko with the Panthers came in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas.
Florida placed a number of players on waivers Friday with the hope they would clear and report to AHL Charlotte.
Defenseman Matt Kiersted was one of the players who cleared.
Denisenko will report to the Golden Knights and be placed on their opening roster.
The Panthers signed Denisenko to a two-year, one-way contract over the offseason and it appeared he was finally going to get a chance to crack the team’s lineup.
But he did not show a whole lot in training camp with coach Paul Maurice saying Friday that Denisenko was not going to be on the initial roster so he was placed on waivers.
Denisenko, 23, played in 26 games with the Panthers over the past three seasons and had seven assists.
“This is a big season upcoming for me,” Denisenko told Florida Hockey Now prior to the start of training camp. “I worked hard this summer to prepare for it. The two-year (contract) is a good deal and means a lot to me. I hope it leads to a good start in the NHL.
“The playoffs were a good experience for me, it was a big thing for me. It gave me a lot of confidence and was a good first step. Now I need a good camp and good preseason to get me ready for this season.”
UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS (4-3)
PRESEASON VS. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (4-2)
- When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Radio: None
- Streaming: FloridaPanthers.com
- Previous Exhibition Games: Florida 5, Nashville 0 (Sept. 25); Florida 5, Nashville 2 (Sept. 25); Carolina 4, Florida 1 (Sept. 27); Florida 4, Carolina 2 (Sept. 29); Ottawa 4, Florida 2 (Oct. 1); Tampa Bay 2, Florida 0 (Oct. 3)