Despite being placed on waivers Sunday, defenseman Steven Kampfer is staying with the Florida Panthers.
The Panthers have the right to send Kampfer to their top minor league team after he was not claimed Monday at noon, but say they will not do so.
Kampfer remains on the Florida roster and took part in Monday’s warmup skate before Florida’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Panthers will have to make a roster move when Jussi Jokinen is activated off the injured list, likely before Thursday’s game with San Jose.
Newly recalled defenseman Jakub Kindl, and not Kampfer, is expected to be sent to Florida’s AHL team in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Kampfer, who beat out Kindl for a roster spot during training camp, has been a healthy scratch in 12 of Florida’s 13 games this season.
“I just want to play,” Kampfer said after Florida's morning skate at BB&T Center. “I know I can help this team.”
Coach Gerard Gallant’s brief comment on the arrival of Kindl — “I have no thoughts on it; we put a guy on waivers and that wasn’t a coaching decision but a management decision” — was telling in which way Florida was leaning on the player headed to the minors.
When asked about Kampfer, Gallant was much more forthcoming.
“He wants to play just like any player,” Gallant said.
“He works hard. I talk to Steven quite a bit, spoke about 10 days ago, and the position he's in is part of the business. He's the seventh defenseman on our team, and — knock on wood — we haven't had any injuries back there. It's tough for him, but he understands.”
The Panthers called up Kindl from Springfield on Sunday afternoon as insurance in case Kampfer was claimed by another team before Monday’s game.
Florida scratched Kindl, Kampfer and Shawn Thornton against the Lightning on Monday.
Kindl did not participate in warmups and would not have to pass through waivers before going back to Springfield.
“It has been a crazy 24 hours, I just found out because I was ready to play [for Springfield] on Sunday,” Kindl said Monday afternoon.
“I literally found out two hours before our game that I needed to pack and get to Florida. So, I really haven't talked to anyone. It is what it is.”
The Panthers acquired Kindl at last year's trade deadline along with Jiri Hudler and Teddy Purcell.
While Kindl played in 19 games with the Panthers down the stretch, he was replaced in the lineup by Mike Matheson in Game 2 of the playoff series against the Islanders and was a healthy scratch for the final five games of that series.
“It's not like that is something I haven't been through in the past,” Kindl said Monday. “The team played good in the playoffs. I could see that from the press box. ... I didn't myself going in just because we had been playing so well.”
▪ Jaromir Jagr will be back in the lineup Monday after sitting out most of Saturday's loss to the Capitals due to what Gallant categorized Monday as a "charley horse."
Jagr was back with Florida's top line of Sasha Barkov and Jonathan Marchessault.
“Jags is fine,” Gallant said. “He felt a lot better [Sunday], went out and skated by himself. He knows what it takes to be ready to play. When you're 45, there are going to be aches and pains. He works real hard.”
▪ Jokinen is expected to be back with the Panthers on Thursday after missing the past nine games with a slight knee injury.
Gallant said Jokinen has been skating for the past 10 days.
“He's ready to play, will likely be back Thursday,” Gallant said.
Gallant said Nick Bjugstad could return from his fractured hand next week.