The Florida Panthers announced its opening night roster for the 2021 NHL season on Wednesday even though its season does not kick off until Sunday.
The Panthers will go into Sunday’s game against the Blackhawks with 22 players on the main roster (13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies).
Florida will start with a five-player taxi squad (two forwards, two defensemen and a goalie) with four on the non-roster/injured reserve.
Although goalie Sergei Bobrovsky returned to practice on Wednesday morning, he will start the season on the non-roster/IR.
With Bobrovsky on IR — which allows him to play next week at Carolina — the Panthers kept Philippe Desrosiers as their No. 3 goalie on the taxi squad.
Defenseman Markus Nutivaara and center Juho Lammikko, who have not participated in any practices since training camp opened, will also start the season on IR.
Noah Juulsen, the defenseman Florida claimed off waivers from Montreal earlier this week, has not arrived and is also on the non-roster list.
Rookies Eetu Luostarinen and Owen Tippett made the main roster with rookie defenseman Brady Keeper sticking around on the taxi squad.
Florida also signed veteran defenseman Kevin Connauton to a one-year contract and placed him on waivers in order to place him on the taxi squad as well.
Although Connauton is not officially on the taxi squad, it is expected he will be added upon clearing waivers Thursday at noon.
Aleksi Heponiemi and Mason Marchment also made the team as part of the taxi squad.
Rookies Grigori Denisenko and Chase Priskie were both assigned to Florida’s shared AHL team in Syracuse along with Scott Wilson and Cole Schwindt.
The players on the taxi squad can still play in games as long as the Panthers recall them by 5 p.m. on the night of the game.
Florida Panthers 2021 Opening Night Roster
Forwards (15 total)
Main roster (13 players)
Taxi squad (2)
Defensemen (9 total)
Main roster (7)
Taxi squad (2)
Kevin Connauton (must clear waivers)
Goalies (3 total)
Main roster (2)
Taxi squad (1)