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Panthers Set Roster: Hordichuk IN, Ellerby OUT, Bitz/Reasoner HURT ... Peters Staying in Rochester

Hordichuk The Panthers continued to make moves on Wednesday as they set their roster for Opening Night from Edmonton come Sunday.

Earlier today – sorry, was working at another job this morning – Florida put defenseman/forward Nathan Paetsch on waivers.

Then, Florida traded Andrew Peters – slated to start the year in Rochester – to the Canucks for fourth liner Darcy Hordichuk.

Hordichuk will meet the team in Edmonton. Here’s hoping there are no visa issues with Hordichuk -- and there shouldn't be. He'll be able to play in all three games in Canada and his issues should be resolved by the time the team leaves Calgary next Thursday night.

“I know Darcy from Nashville, so I know what I am getting,’’ assistant general manager Mike Santos said. “I know he was a very popular player here and I expect him to play the same style of game he did before and be popular with the fans again We can use that kind of life not only on the ice, but in the locker room. It just made sense.’’

Florida opens the season with 22 players on the roster (not counting Paetsch, who probably comes back).

“We’re seeing if there are any teams interested in him,’’ Santos said. And if not? “He’ll stay on the roster.’’

The roster had to be set at 23 players by 3 p.m. and Florida got to its number by putting Byron Bitz and Marty Reasoner on the injured list and sending defenseman Keaton Ellerby to Rochester.

Santos on Bitz: “Just a groin strain. It’s early in the year, we don’t want to make anything worse than it is.’’

On Reasoner: “It’s more precautionary than anything. He could be ready for the opener.’’

The return to Florida by Hordichuk (he spent parts of two seasons here before the lockout) adds just a touch of grit to the Panthers fourth line. Hordichuk, who has 18 goals and 15 assists in 431 NHL games, has been in 27 fights in the past two seasons.

-- Ellerby will be back, especially if he carries over what he did this training camp to Rochester. Here's thinking that Ellerby gets it now. Don't know if he was overwhelmed last year or what, but he's looked like a completely different player.

“Keaton played well, it was a good camp for him,’’ Santos said. “He had a real up and down year last season. It was important he came in and played the way he did. It’s a numbers game. He doesn’t require waivers and sometimes that is the way it works. He has a bright future. Some day he’ll need waivers and will benefit from the waivers game.’’

-- Just got word from Kevin O. at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that Andrew Peters will stay in Rochester for the time being as the Canucks are loaning him to the Panthers and the Amerks. But, like in the Caps/Michael Nylander deal, Florida can not recall Peters because he belongs to Vancouver.

“When we signed Peters, he knew he would spend time in the minors and he lives in the area and wanted to play in Roch,’’ Santos said. “They are honoring that.’’