Barkov nearing return from broken hand

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The Florida Panthers have missed Aleksander Barkov since he broke his hand in late October.

Which makes sense, because he’s their best center.

Fortunately for the Panthers, Barkov is getting close to returning. They’ve gone 3-3-2 without him.

“I feel good and hope to be back as soon as possible,” he told the SunSentinel. “It’s getting better every day. I can shoot more and shoot harder; I could pass; I could skate better. I just need to gain the game’s pace.”

The Panthers are trying to stay patient, not wanting to rush the 20-year-old back. But it has to be frustrating, given their heightened expectations for the season.

Florida hosts Buffalo tonight then makes a quick trip to Tampa for a game Saturday.

According to the newspaper, it’s “possible” Barkov could return for Monday’s home game versus the Lightning.