The Florida Panthers cut their roster to 30 on Friday with defenseman Matt Kiersted and forward Grigori Denisenko placed on waivers and goalie Spencer Knight assigned to AHL Charlotte.
Knight, who is in the first season of a three-year contract which pays $4.5 million annually, is waiver exempt.
Florida coach Paul Maurice said the team planned on having Knight start the season in the AHL as the No. 1 goalie since the 22-year-old returned from the NHL/NHLPA Player assistance program.
”This wasn’t a training camp decision. This was something we looked at from the start,” Maurice said.
”He’s made great progress in his program. He feels good, he looked fantastic in training camp but we need to put him in a number one position and then run his program.”
Anthony Stolarz will back up Sergei Bobrovsky while Knight gets a heavy workload with the Checkers.
Kiersted and Denisenko, however, are not and can now be claimed by another team.
If they clear, they will head to Charlotte as well.
Denisenko, Florida’s 2018 first-round pick, was a bit of a surprise cut with one preseason game still remaining after missing most of the preseason with back tightness.
But the 23-year-old did not show enough during camp to earn a spot.
”It was just his camp,” Maurice said. “He was good. He wasn’t bad, he wasn’t great. And he came off an injury and I don’t have him in the opening roster.
“When you get to the point where I’m comfortable that you are not getting into the opening night roster, then you need to get back to that team and get into some games.”
Florida also waived William Lockwood and Alexander True.
With these moves, the cases for rookies Mackie Samoskevich and Justin Sourdif as well as veterans Zac Dalpe and Casey Fitzgerald look much, much better to make the opening night roster.
UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS (4-3)
PRESEASON VS. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (4-2)
- When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Radio: None
- Streaming: FloridaPanthers.com
- Previous Exhibition Games: Florida 5, Nashville 0 (Sept. 25); Florida 5, Nashville 2 (Sept. 25); Carolina 4, Florida 1 (Sept. 27); Florida 4, Carolina 2 (Sept. 29); Ottawa 4, Florida 2 (Oct. 1); Tampa Bay 2, Florida 0 (Oct. 3)