Panthers defenseman Dylan McIlrath has cleared waivers and been assigned to Florida’s AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Forward Paul Thompson also cleared waivers, but he remains on the NHL roster for now. Instead, 20-year-old forward Jared McCann has been sent down.
The Panthers beat the Senators, 6-5, last night to move to within two points of a wild-card spot. It was the second game back for d-man Alex Petrovic, whose return knocked McIlrath even further down the depth chart.
Florida is still without key forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, though both have been skating and the latter’s return sounds imminent.
“I feel better every day,” Barkov said Monday, per the Sun-Sentinel. “I’m skating with the team and feel happy for that. It’s a lot more fun than skating by my own. I hope I could play soon.”
Florida’s next game is Friday at home to Anaheim.
The Florida Panthers made a couple of roster moves on Tuesday morning by placing defenseman Dylan McIlrath and forward Paul Thompson on waivers.
Mcilrath, originally a first-round pick (No. 10 overall) by the New York Rangers back in 2010, was acquired by the Panthers in a trade for Steve Kampfer earlier this season. He has been limited to just five games with the Panthers since the trade, logging just 48 total minutes of ice time and scoring a single goal.
Known more for his toughness and physical play, he has also recorded 10 penalty minutes in his limited role this season. He is likely headed back to Springfield of the American Hockey League where he has one goal and one assist in six games this season. The decision to waive Mcilrath comes just after Alex Petrovic returned to the lineup last week following a lengthy absence due to injury.
Mcilrath has appeared in just one game for the Panthers since Dec. 15, playing 8:49 in a shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers back on Jan. 18.
Thompson, meanwhile, joined the Panthers organization this past offseason and has appeared in 21 games for the big club this season recording three assists in what has mostly been a fourth line role, logging just a little more than seven minutes of ice time per game when he has been in the lineup. The 28-year-old winger has spent much of the season in Springfield where he has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 20 games.
A quick rundown of the current state of affairs in Florida:
— Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to Winnipeg was the Panthers’ fifth in their last six games, dropping them to 16-15-8 and sixth place in the Atlantic Division.
— In that loss, forward Seth Griffith suffered a concussion on a hit from Nikolaj Ehlers, one head coach Tom Rowe called “dirty.” That put Griffith on the shelf alongside a slew of fellow injured teammates: Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Alex Petrovic.
— At this morning’s skate ahead of tonight’s game against Nashville, Rowe was in a salty mood:
(The target of Rowe’s ire has yet to be identified.)
It’s fair to speculate frustration levels are high throughout the organization. Florida heads into tonight’s game with a patchwork lineup — per Daily Faceoff, Vincent Trocheck will center the top line between Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Marchessault, while Nick Bjugstad will man the middle on the second line between Jussi Jokinen and Reilly Smith.
Jared McCann, recently recalled from the minors, will skate with Michael Sgarbossa and Colton Sceviour. Captain Derek MacKenzie is on a line with Paul Thompson and Greg McKegg.
Florida will be a team to watch in the coming weeks. After this upcoming back-to-back at home against Nashville and Boston, the club will play six of its next eight on the road, which includes a four-game Western swing through Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Arizona.
Given the Panthers are just 7-8-5 on the road this year, it could be tough sledding.