Veteran center Steven Reinprecht, who cleared waivers last week, was assigned to Florida's American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio.
It's believed Florida will try to bring Reinprecht back up through re-entry waivers, making it easier for another team to claim him and take half of his $2 million salary off the books.
Florida also placed defenseman Mike Kostka on waivers. If Kostka clears, as expected, he'll be assigned to San Antonio as well.
With those two moves made, the Panthers will visit the New York Islanders on Saturday with 22 players on the roster. Florida's lineup breaks up like this: 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.
“We're down to the numbers,'' first-year coach Kevin Dineen said. “It's an exciting time to get our team out there. We've had a couple of strong practices and I think are players are getting more comfortable not only with our expectations but with each other. That chemistry part can never be understated.''
Kostka's strong camp – and his breakthrough AHL season last year in which the 25-year-old scored 16 goals with 55 points for Rochester – kept him around until the final day. He met with Dineen and general manager Dale Tallon following practice.
Dineen was obviously a Kostka supporter as he coached him for two seasons with AHL Portland from 2008-10. Dineen said he tried to stay out of conversations when it came to Kostka, instead allowing his play to speak for itself. In the end, however, it was apparent Dineen didn't want to see Kostka head west.
“I don't know if I'm getting fed tonight. He was one of my wife's favorites from Maine,'' Dineen joked.
Of the bubble players to make the roster, Dineen singled out Ryan Carter and Shawn Matthias for the most praise. Carter came to the Panthers during last season's tumultuous salary dump and was the only one of the so-called 'try out' players to be invited back. Players like Niklas Bergfors and Sergei Samsonov, also acquired late last season, weren't retained.
Carter, Matthias and July 2 signee Matt Bradley appear to make up Florida's revamped fourth line. Evgeny Dadonov, starting his second full season with the Panthers, may be the odd man out at least early on.
Barring injury, Florida will have to make another roster move in the coming weeks when Mike Santorelli (shoulder) is ready to play. Santorelli isn't wearing a sling and has been watching practices the past few days.