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#FlaPanthers Friday Notebook: Kulikov Signed, Could Play in Place of Weaver v Hurricanes ... Versteeg Questionable, Santorelli In? ... Cats Lose Wright to Jets ... Hello Michael Caruso

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The Panthers signed defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to a two-year deal and will likely use him in Saturday's home opener.

Kulikov's contract was submitted to the NHL before Friday's 5 p.m. deadline and should be approved Saturday.

Dineen said he's not worried about Kulikov's physical shape and says Kulikov knows the Florida system well enough that he can be thrown into game action at a moments notice.

"I'm taking every option I have to help us win,'' Dineen said.

Mike Weaver, Dineen said, suffered a slight concussion during Wednesday's scrimmage and is questionable for Saturday. That allowed Mike Caruso to make Florida's 23-man roster to start the season. Rookie Alex Petrovic was sent back to San Antonio.

"I've been thinking about this day for a long time,'' said Caruso, who is in his fifth year within the Panthers organization but has yet to make his NHL debut. "I've worked hard at it, have been putting in the time. This would be a dream come true. I've felt ready for this. It's just a matter of getting my foot in the door.''

-- Center Mike Santorelli cleared waivers Friday and could be in the lineup against the Hurricanes. Winger Kris Versteeg left the ice during Friday's practice and is questionable.

Florida did lose winger James Wright -- who has a one-way deal for next season -- to Winnipeg as the Jets claimed him off waivers. The Panthers planned to assign Wright to AHL San Antonio.

-- Veteran winger Alex Kovalev signed a one-year deal with the Panthers worth around $600,000 after being pro-rated because of the lockout. Kovalev spent last season in the KHL after splitting the 2010-11 season with Ottawa and Pittsburgh.

The 39-year-old Kovalev is the last remaining active player from the 1994 Stanley Cup champion Rangers.

"It's been a long time. I didn't think I would get another chance to play in the NHL after I left for Russia,'' Kovalev said. "I kept my hopes alive and this is where I want to finish my career. I'm glad this organization gave me a chance.''

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