The Florida Panthers are getting closer to finalizing their 23-man roster to open the 2018-19 season.
Sources indicated Monday, and the American Hockey League transaction page confirmed, that four Panthers players have been sent to Florida’s AHL affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts: forwards Henrik Borgstrom, Dryden Hunt and Juho Lammikko as well as defenseman Ian McCoshen.
The trio of young forwards are expected to get big minutes in the AHL as they enhance their game and bolster Florida’s depth up front.
Borgstrom, the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2016, had spent the bulk of the preseason as the team’s left winger on the third line and was thought to be a contender for an Opening Day roster spot. The 21-year-old from Finland played in four games late in the 2017-18 season for the Panthers, scoring one goal.
Hunt has spent the majority of the past two seasons in Springfield, tallying 77 total points (36 goals, 41 assists) in 128 games. He played in 11 games for the Panthers early last season, recording a goal.
Lammikko, like Hunt, is getting ready for his third year in Springfield. He tallied 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) in 106 career games.
McCoshen, a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, was part of last season’s Opening Day roster and played in 38 games.
The Panthers are expected to finalize their roster, which needs to be trimmed to 23 players before the season opener, by end of day Tuesday.
As it stands right now, the Panthers have 25 players on their roster:
▪ Two goaltenders: Roberto Luongo and James Reimer.
▪ Nine defensemen: Josh Brown, Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad, Alexander Petrovic, Mark Pysyk, Mike Matheson, Jacob MacDonald, MacKenzie Weegar and Bogdan Kiselevich
▪ 14 forwards: Colton Sceviour, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Derek MacKenzie, Micheal Haley, Vincent Trocheck, Troy Brouwer, Nick Bjugstad, Denis Malgin, Evgenii Dadonov, Mike Hoffman, Frank Vatrano, Maxim Mamin and Jared McCann.
The Panthers, who came one point shy of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, open the 2018-19 campaign on the road against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Their first home game at the BB&T Center is set for Oct. 11 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.