OTTAWA -- The Panthers lost top winger Kris Versteeg with what’s believed to be a minor groin injury Monday as he was put on injured reserve. Florida recalled Drew Shore from AHL San Antonio to replace him on the roster.
Florida is playing on back-to-back nights in Ottawa and Montreal with a third game coming at home Thursday against the Flyers.
“We want to make sure, in case something happens since we’re playing three games in four nights,” general manager Dale Tallon said. “We’re a little nicked up already. We need an extra body.”
Versteeg had hip surgery soon after the Panthers completed their season last year and rehabbed with the team at the beginning of the lockout.
Once medically cleared, Versteeg was then officially locked out like the rest of the NHL players and he returned to his hometown in Alberta. Tallon said Versteeg’s injury wasn’t related to the hip but wouldn’t elaborate further.
Versteeg was hurt during the Panthers’ first practice at the BB&T Center on Friday morning.
Because he was put on the IR list retroactive to that practice, Versteeg is eligible to return Friday. Versteeg tried to warm up at Saturday’s morning skate but left that workout about 15 minutes into it.
The 21-year-old Shore is in his first professional season after scoring 50 goals in 123 games at the University of Denver the past three years. Shore has 10 goals and 30 points in 41 games for the San Antonio Rampage this season.
“He had a good camp, impressed our veteran guys,” Tallon said. “He can play center or wing. He’s a really good kid, a good player.”
With Versteeg out, coach Kevin Dineen put Mike Santorelli on Florida’s first line with Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann.
On Monday, Scottie Upshall — who scored Florida’s fourth goal of the first period Saturday — was on the first line, and Santorelli was down on the third line.
• Both Dmitry Kulikov and Mike Weaver were back in Florida’s lineup on Monday after missing Saturday’s opener.
Kulikov was out because he said he wasn’t ready to go after an exhaustive travel schedule from Russia.
“I feel fantastic,” Kulikov said. “I’m excited to play.”
Weaver was out because of the league’s protocol for treatment of concussions. Weaver was hit in the head during a scrimmage last week and wasn’t allowed to play.