SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers set their initial roster on Monday evening and will open the season with 20 players none of whom are named Eric Staal.
The Panthers liked what the veteran center brought to the team in camp on his PTO but they are so close to the salary cap ceiling they can’t afford a nice used car much less another NHL player.
So, the Panthers will wait and see if Staal waits on them for something to open up.
If he gets a call from another team, one would think he answers. But he really seemed to like it here, liked being in the same room with his younger brother Marc for just the second time in their careers.
Betting money says he waits for things to open up for the Panthers.
But things are going to be tight this year.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Well, Paul Maurice said having just 20 players on their roster this season could cause some problems — but it is something that a lot of teams around the NHL are going to have to deal with in these days of a salary cap that just isn’t moving very much.
Things will clear up for the Panthers next season and we could see real movement in the cap ceiling by 2024.
— The Panthers saw all six of the players they put on waivers on Sunday clear and they were able to add now-former Anaheim defenseman Josh Mahura.
— Bill Zito talks about carrying 20 players to open the season and talks a little about Eric Staal.
— Check out the FHN YouTube channel RIGHT HERE — and hear from Maurice, Colin White and Sasha Barkov following Monday’s practice in Sunrise.
More to come each day.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
— A great lede from Dave Molinari on the age of the Pittsburgh Penguins:
The average Age in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Opening Night lineup Thursday figures to fall somewhere between Stone and Bronze.
Go to a hockey game at PPG Paints Arena this winter, and you just might see an AARP meeting break out.
That’s good writing, Dickie.
— Speaking of the Bruins, team president Cam Neely is tired of the bashing of GM Don Sweeney.
— Ilya Samsonov will get the second start of the season for the Leafs — and that will come against his former mates with the Washington Capitals.
— The Montreal Canadiens are going to be really young this season.
— The San Jose Sharks set their roster — for now.
— For the New York Islanders to be better on offense this season, Mathew Barzal will be front and center.
— Good news for the Philadelphia Flyers as it looks like Sean Couturier could be back with the team sometime this season.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS
- 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