Tough blow for Panthers as Barkov suffers broken hand

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After recording one of their best wins of the season on Saturday, the Florida Panthers received some bad news on Sunday.

Aleksander Barkov, the club’s No. 1 center, suffered a broken hand blocking a shot earlier in the week, per the Sun-Sentinel. Barkov didn’t play in last night’s big 6-2 win over the Stars in Dallas, and it’s unclear how many more games he’ll miss while recovering.

Regardless of how long recovery takes, this is a significant loss for Florida.

The former No. 2 overall pick was off to a terrific start, emerging as a quality playmaker on the top line between Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Barkov had three goals and six points in the first seven games of the year.

Against Dallas, Nick Bjugstad jumped up to fill top center duties and fared well, finishing with a goal and an assist. Bjugstad will be one to watch moving forward, as the Panthers play three straight at home (against the Avs, Bruins and Caps) before heading West for a three-game set in Anaheim, San Jose and L.A.

With Barkov out and Bjugstad moving up, the Panthers will be asking much more out of depth centers Vincent Trocheck, Dave Bolland and Derek McKenzie.