With only 20 players on their roster due to salary cap issues, it was only a matter of time before the Florida Panthers would be forced to play down a skater.
That inevitability came in Game No. 3 on Monday night.
Defenseman Brandon Montour was ruled out of Florida’s game against the Boston Bruins and, without carrying an extra skater (or three) as the team is accustomed to, the Panthers went out there with 17 skaters.
The Panthers played the five defensemen they had as well as the 12 healthy forwards.
Then Aaron Ekblad got hurt midway through the second period and left the game leaving the Panthers with only four defensemen and down two skaters.
So, what comes next?
One thing we can be certain of is that the Panthers will not go into Wednesday’s home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers with only 16 skaters.
At least one player should be joining the team.
But with no space under the salary cap, how will general manager Bill Zito do it?