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Florida Panthers Set Initial Roster, Cannot Sign Eric Staal



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Eric Staal, in camp with the Florida Panthers on a professional tryout, did not sign a contract with the team as the team does not have enough cap space to make room for him on the team at this time. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers got under the NHL salary cap ceiling by the 5 p.m. deadline on Monday as they set their initial roster by making a couple of moves including officially placing Anthony Duclair on long-term injured reserve.

General manager Bill Zito confirmed the Panthers will start off with 20 players — three under the league roster maximum meaning they will dress all players for games to start out.

”We are going to have to manage it for a while,” Zito said, “until situations present themselves to get some more players up.”

With the Panthers being so close up against the salary cap, it was unable to add Eric Staal at this time.

Staal, 37, did not practice with the team Monday morning but his equipment was still in the team locker room at the arena. He has been released from his professional tryout.

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“We have talked to him, have talked to his agent and we are trying to figure out a way to keep it alive,” Zito said. “He is a guy who, given the flexibility of a larger roster, is someone we have interest in. We’re trying to keep it alive.”

On Monday afternoon, the Panthers claimed defenseman Josh Mahura off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks while the six players they placed on waivers the day before passed through.

All six of the players — including Aleksi Heponiemi, Lucas Carlsson, Michael Del Zotto and Chris Tierney — will be loaned to Charlotte.

As for Mahura, he is en route to South Florida and is expected to join his new teammates for practice on Tuesday morning.

Florida still has seven defensemen with the team although rookie Matt Kiersted got hurt in the second period of Saturday’s preseason finale in Tampa and is on the IR.

Zac Dalpe and Justin Sourdif also remain with the team on IR.

So, with six defensemen to start the season, Mahura is definitely going to find substantial playing time with the Panthers.

”This is a guy our scouts really, really liked,” Zito said. “He is someone we had discussions about. With only 20 on the roster, our scouts saw some upsides and he was worth taking a chance on.”



Colin White; Sam Bennett; Sam Reinhart; Anton Lundell; Sasha Barkov; Matthew Tkachuk; Nick Cousins; Carter Verhaeghe; Eetu Luostarinen; Rudolfs Balcers; Patric Hornqvist; Ryan Lomberg. LTIR: Anthony Duclair; IR: Zac Dalpe, Justin Sourdif.


Aaron Ekblad; Radko Gudas; Marc Staal; Gus Forsling; Brandon Montour; Josh Mahura. IR: Matt Kiersted


Sergei Bobrovsky; Spencer Knight



  • When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: UBS Arena; Elmont, N.Y. 
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM/SiriusXM
  • Last season: Florida won 3-0
  • All-time regular season series: Panthers lead 54-32-11, 8 ties
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Dale Huber

Please explain how the three on IR don’t cause us to be over the cap if the remain with the team. Players on IR still count toward the cap. Will they be put on SOIR?


Ladies and gentlemen….
I believe Eric Stahl should be on the Panthers team find a way to make room for him

Mike Johnson

What’s next?

Last edited 1 year ago by Mike Johnson

does the pick up of Mahura mean the team just thinks he’s the better option than Carlson? I think their salaries are only 50k apart.


BTW George, It looks like you nailed it as far as their plans with E Staal, seems they’ll sign him in a few weeks when an opportunity makes itself available. Based on Zito’s comments today, Staal is destined to be on this team.
They have Cousins listed as the C4 and Eetu on the 3rd line right wing on “the daily face-off” and a few other sites I check out for line-ups, is that right? Is Eetu going to start out on the wing?

Daniel Monroe

Do you really think Eric Staal is going to help the Panthers. He is too slow for the NHL today.


My main concern was his lack of face off success, and that was going against guys in the preseason, some of which didn’t even make their clubs, what happens when he’s going against NHL caliber guys every night? I was very bullish on him at the beginning of camp, he’s still solid on the boards, and he’s not as slow as I thought he was going to be, but he just can’t win a face off. My only hope is that face-offs are very much a timing thing and he was out of the legal last year so he hasn’t… Read more »

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