The Florida Panthers will be shorthanded to start the regular season.
That’s the word out of Sunrise on Monday as head coach Kevin Dineen confirmed defenseman Erik Gudbranson (shoulder) and forward Marcel Goc (ankle) would miss the Panthers’ first three games of the season.
Florida opens with a home game against Carolina on Jan. 19, followed by road dates in Ottawa and Montreal on the 21st and 22nd.
According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, Florida GM Dale Tallon has suspended both Gudbranson and Goc from the team until they’re medically cleared for action.
This is bad news for the Panthers, given their roster was already thin.
Forward Sean Bergenheim injured his groin while playing for HIFK Helsinki during the lockout and still needs medical clearance.
RFA defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is without an NHL contract — he’s still playing with KHL Lokomotiv — though Tallon did say assistant GM Mike Santos is working on his deal.
All told, Florida could be without four regulars to start the season, including two of its top defensemen from a year ago.
“You’re missing two top players for us last year,” Dineen told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Am I comfortable with it? No. I’d love to have nine quality defensemen.
“You have that and I’m a better coach with those two guys.”
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?