The Florida Panthers will be without Jussi Jokinen for Saturday night's game against the Avalanche.
Kyle Rau is more than ready to step in.
The Panthers recalled Rau from their minor league team in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Friday and had Rau in Jokinen's spot at Saturday's morning skate.
One of the final cuts of training camp, the Panthers feel confident Rau can come in and do the job.
"He played real good hockey for us last year when he was called up," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He works hard, he competes, goes to the tough areas for a smaller guy. I really like the way he plays. He should fit in real good with those guys."
Rau, who turns 24 on Monday, played in nine games for the Panthers last season mostly on a third and fourth-line role.
With Jokinen out with some sort of lower body injury -- Gallant said it was a knee issue on Friday but backed away from that Saturday -- Rau will get the opportunity to play on Florida's second line with center Vincent Trocheck and Reilly Smith.
"I'm happy to be here, happy for the opportunity," said Rau, who has yet to register an NHL point.
"Anytime you get called up, it's a great opportunity. We'll see what I got. Training camp was just around the corner so that's still fresh in my mind. That's something I didn't have last time."
FACEBOOK VIDEO BELOW: Florida coach Gerard Gallant meets the media before Saturday’s game against the Avs courtesy One Panther Parkway
Said Smith: "It's tough not having Jokinen, but [Rau] will definitely fill the spot. He's a good player, a tenacious player with a good shot who goes to the net. It would be nice if we did something early [Saturday], create a little chemistry."
Nick Bjugstad is good friends with Rau from their time at the University of Minnesota where the two were teammates as well as roommates.
The Panthers drafted Bjugstad and Rau in consecutive drafts as the duo were named Minnesota's prep Mr. Hockey in successive years.
Bjugstad, out with a fractured hand, said Rau is prepared for the opportunity.
"He's always ready when his name is called," Bjugstad said. "Obviously we have a few injuries, myself included, so guys have to step in and they have been doing so. A lot of guys have played well. I'm sure Kyle will fit in wherever he's placed.
"He had a chance last year, got his feet wet a little bit. He's ready to get moving."
▪ Jokinen wasn't the only regular missing from the morning skate as Jaromir Jagr didn't participate.
Jagr simply took the morning off and will be in the lineup against the Avs.
Jokinen, Gallant said, is day-to-day.
"It's nothing serious," Gallant said.
With Rau in, Florida will make Shawn Thornton and Steven Kampfer its healthy scratches for the fifth consecutive game to start this season.
▪ Roberto Luongo (2-1-0) will start against Colorado on Saturday; the Avalanche will counter with Semyon Varlamov (2-1-0).