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Florida Panthers Set Initial Roster, Cannot Sign Eric Staal



Florida panthers
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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