After a long off-season and pre-season, the Panthers made their opening night roster official this morning. The 23-man roster includes few surprises if you’ve kept up with the onslaught of pre-season and training camp news, as guys like Connor Brickley and Quinton Howden have shown they’ll be able to take over the spots left by the departed veterans of last season.
As was reported yesterday, Martin Havlat has been released from the PTO he signed prior to training camp. You can read more about that in our post from yesterday. Dylan Olsen will also stay with the Panthers at least for the time being as he enables the team to have 23 players on their roster as Marc Savard, Rocco Grimaldi, and Steven Hodges (who are on the injured reserve list) do not count towards it. Olsen is apparently still working on conditioning after an absence from hockey near the end of last season, Grimaldi is out for what should only be a little while longer with an ankle injury, and Marc Savard (who’s contract was acquired in the Reilly Smith acquisition) is on the long-term IR and will most likely never suit up for the Panthers. Steven Hodges is also on the IR because he is ineligible to be sent down until he has been cleared to play per the NHL’s waiver rules.
Overall, the Panthers will be able to finally roll 4 solid forward lines. The top line of Huberdeau, Barkov, and Jagr will lead the way while the new and improved “4th line” of Howden, MacKenzie, and Brickley will bring speed, energy, and a bit of goal-scoring, the first of which the Panthers desperately need in their line-up.
The Panthers open the season this Saturday, October 10th at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. Look out for our game preview as we inch closer to opening night.
You can check out the opening night roster here.