The Florida Panthers came into their final week of the preseason by doing some major carving to their roster on Sunday.
With a dozen players either loaned to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL or being placed on waivers in order to do so, Florida is down to 30 active players.
The Panthers need to have their roster at the league limit of 23 by Tuesday.
Florida has two exhibition games remaining this week — a home-and-home series with the Lightning starts Thursday in Sunrise — before opening the season next Thursday against the host New York Islanders.
”We are still experimenting to see where guys will fit,’’ coach Paul Maurice said.
As it stands right now per CapFriendly.com, Florida would be about $500,000 under the salary cap upon putting Anthony Duclair on LTIR next week.
But that only accounts for the Panthers going with a roster of 20 players and does not factor in a one-year deal for Eric Staal who is in on a PTO and appears to be staying.
So, the Panthers will not only have to add some players but also make a move or two to stay under the $82.5 million salary cap.
Right now, we are not sure the Panthers will be able to open the season with a 23-man roster.
Although Florida has started with 23 in most seasons, there have been times it has opened up with 21 or 22 due to financial concerns. This would be cap problems, not an unwillingness to spend money as was the case back then.
In looking at what Florida’s final roster will look like, we are going with the assumption that 23 will make it.
Again, that may not be possible.