SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers waived defenseman Mike Reilly on Friday afternoon in a move which creates the roster space needed to sign free agent Patrick Kane.
With Reilly either being claimed by another team or headed to AHL Charlotte, the Panthers would be at 22 players.
Florida will have to make another move when defenseman Josh Mahura is healthy — coach Paul Maurice said he may be a week away from a return.
Reilly played in just two games with the Panthers since signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
He did not record a point and was a minus-2.
Florida is currently at seven defensemen with Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour back.
The Panthers will have Uvis Balinskis back in the lineup tonight against Winnipeg as Dmitry Kulikov will be the healthy scratch.
“If you were asking this before the opening game, I would say Mike would be within the first three or four games,” Panthers coach Maurice said before he made his team debut against the Blue Jackets.
”But they played well and because we have four new guys, I was a bit reluctant to start pulling defensemen in and out of the lineup. He had practiced really hard and we’ve had a couple of games where some of our defense hasn’t been fantastic, so it’s a perfect time to get a guy in.
“Everybody’s kind of got their feet wet, and I think when you take a player out now, he’ll come back in with some confidence and some edge.”
Reilly’s $1 million salary would come off the books regardless of whether a team claims him or he is sent down to the minors after going unclaimed.
The Panthers would have just under $1.5 million in cap space with Reilly off the roster.
That may be enough to sign Kane who says he wants to be with a team in the coming days.
Kane, who turned 35 this past Sunday, had hip resurfacing surgery on July 1.
He has been working out in the Toronto area the past few months.
The Panthers will fly to Canada on Sunday; they visit Ottawa on Monday and Toronto on Tuesday.
PANTHERS ON DECK
WINNIPEG JETS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Friday, 8 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
- This season — Winnipeg Leads 1-0: @Winnipeg 6, Florida 4 (Oct. 14); Friday @ Florida
- Last season: Winnipeg won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets lead 53-31-8, 5 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Monday at Ottawa, 7 p.m.