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Welcome Back: Uvis Balinskis Returns to Panthers from AHL



Balinskis panthers
The Florida Panthers recalled defenseman Uvis Balinskis after sending him to the AHL Charlotte Checkers for a game. Balinskis scored a goal in that one. // Photo by Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

Uvis Balinskis was not gone from the Florida Panthers for very long.

The defenseman was sent to AHL Charlotte on Friday, scored a goal for the Checkers on Saturday and was recalled by Florida on Sunday.

The Panthers now have eight defensemen on their active roster with Josh Mahura activated off the injured reserve.

Every NHL team loves being deep on their blueline, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

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Balinskis, 27, was scratched in six of seven before being sent down.

“He has to play games,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said about Balinskis being sent down. “If he was 21, he might have gone a week or two ago because he needs pro games. He doesn’t need pro games, but he does need to get into a rhythm.

“I have a lot of faith in this guy. For me, he is full-time NHL player as is Josh. Right now, we have the luxury — and sometimes, the challenge — of managing these guys so we can get their best hockey.”

With Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour out to start, the Panthers loaded up on defensemen — with Balinskis making the team out of training camp.

The Panthers figured Balinskis could play when they signed him out of the Czech league during the playoffs, but they thought there would be a adjustment to the NHL game.

“We had the luxury of planning because we knew two of them would be out,’’ GM Bill Zito told

“The silver lining to that is Balinskis gets his chance and we see he’s a pretty good player. We also found out that we have some defensive depth. We all know we will need it.”

Now that Ekblad and Montour are back, the Panthers have made some defensive changes.

Although Mahura got hurt the game before those two returned, there was still a crunch.

Mike Reilly ended up being waived and claimed by the Islanders; Balinskis, being waivers-exempt due to this being his first season in the NHL, had been scratched and then sent to the minors.

We shall see what happens next.



  • When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
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  • Last Season: Dallas won 2-0
  • This Season — At Florida: Wednesday. At Dallas: March 12.
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 24-21-2, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Friday vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
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