The Florida Panthers amended their opening roster on Tuesday by moving defenseman Aaron Ekblad to long-term injured reserve and recalling Justin Sourdif.
Sourdif was technically the final cut of training camp but that was for salary cap machinations; with Ekblad’s roster move from regular IR to LTIR, the Panthers were able to recapture $7 million of his $7.5 million against the salary cap per PuckPedia.com.
With Sourdif added back onto the roster — which now stands at 23 — the Panthers have close to $6.6 million of temporary cap space until Ekblad returns from his offseason shoulder injury.
According to the Panthers, both Ekblad and Brandon Montour are aiming for a mid-December return although one could come back a little sooner or later.
By being on LTIR, Ekblad will have to miss 10 games and 24 days of action which, of course, is assured.
A mid-December return means missing about 30 games.
As for Sourdif, he becomes the second true rookie to make the opening roster along with Mackie Samoskevich.
While Samoskevich will make his NHL debut on Thursday in Minnesota, it is not know whether Sourdif will play right away.
A third-round pick by the Panthers in 2020, Sourdif followed up a very strong junior career with a solid first professional season with the AHL Charlotte Checkers.
Sourdif, 21, scored seven goals with 24 points in 48 games for the Checkers last season.
This preseason, Sourdif certainly looked as if he belonged with the Panthers, scoring a goal with three points.
As for Brett Ritchie, Florida coach Paul Maurice said Tuesday that the Panthers would like him to stay with the organization — and that sending him to Charlotte to start the season would be a possibility.
The decision to sign with the Panthers, Maurice said, is up to Ritchie at this point.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ROSTER
FORWARDS (14): Sasha Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart, Carter Verhaeghe, Evan Rodrigues, Anton Lundell, Sam Bennett, Eetu Luostarinen, Kevin Stenlund, Ryan Lomberg, Nick Cousins, Mackie Samoskevich, Steven Lorentz, Justin Sourdif
DEFENSEMEN (7): Gus Forsling, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mike Reilly, Josh Mahura, Dmitri Kulikov, Niko Mikkola, Uvis Balinskis
GOALIES (2): Sergei Bobrovsky, Anthony Stolarz
INJURED RESERVE (1): Brandon Montour
LTIR (1): Aaron Ekblad
PTO (Not Signed): Brett Ritchie
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT MINNESOTA WILD
- When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
- Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- This season: Florida @ Minnesota, Thursday; Minnesota @ Florida, Jan. 19
- All-time regular season series: Minnesota leads 18-10-2, 1 tie
- Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday at Winnipeg Jets, 4 p.m.