The Panthers released their 32-man training camp roster late Saturday night with one glaring omission.
Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov isn't at camp as he remains an unsigned restricted free agent. Kulikov went to Russia to play for Yaroslavl Lokamotiv, his childhood team, and is reportedly still in his hometown.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon didn't speak to the media on Sunday but said Thursday that he was speaking to Kulikov's agent on a daily basis. Coach Kevin Dineen said he expects Tallon to clarify the issue in the coming days.
Kulikov remains the property of the Panthers as he just completed his third NHL season. Kulikov has three goals and three assists in 22 games for Lokomotiv.
"I'm a big Dmitry fan,'' Dineen said after Florida's start of camp on Sunday morning. "I thought he really did a good job. He's very young in his development. Defensemen take a little time to develop, same as goalies. .-.-. He's really on track and is a player we envision having a long and successful NHL career.''
Kulikov, 22, said before leaving for Russia that he wanted to return to the Panthers and had no desire to play in the KHL. Kulikov, the 14th overall pick in 2009, bought himself out of his contract with Lokomotiv when he was 18 allowing him to start that season as a rookie with the Panthers.
The Panthers will hold their first official practice since last year's playoffs on Monday morning and will likely do so without two of their top defensemen.
Not only is Kulikov expected to be out, but it's not known whether Erik Gudbranson's surgically repaired shoulder has been cleared for practice. Gudbranson said he feels good but wouldn't comment further.
"You are missing two top players for us last year,'' Dineen said. "I'll deal with it and we'll be fine. But am I comfortable with it? No. I want nine quality defensemen. I'm a better coach with those two in the lineup, I just am.''
-- Winger Sean Bergenheim was back at the Panthers' training facility in Coral Springs on Sunday but said he couldn't comment about a potential groin injury suffered while playing in Finland early on in the lockout.
Bergenheim was slowed by a groin injury last year; After working out in South Florida when the lockout began, Bergenheim left for his hometown of Helsinki where he played just two games for HIFK before being hurt on Oct. 2.
"It was great to be able to play in my country, my hometown,'' Bergenheim said.
-- Dineen said he would name a team captain sometime this week. Florida has been without a captain since trading Bryan McCabe to the Rangers in the final stages of the 2010-11 season.
-- The Panthers will hold an intersquad scrimmage at the Saveology.com Iceplex on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Florida will not practice that morning but will hold a workout and the simulated game in the evening.
Dineen said the Panthers would likely call up some players from ECHL Cincinnati to help fill the two teams.
-- Florida called up seven players from AHL San Antonio for the start of training camp although only defenseman Tyson Strachan -- who hasn't played in the past few games -- was present Sunday. The rest of the players were traveling but will practice Monday.
Dineen said that Florida will not open the season carrying three goalies so unless either Jose Theodore or Scott Clemmensen gets hurt, Jacob Markstrom will be headed back to the Rampage.
PANTHERS TRAINING CAMP
-- When, Where: Monday, 10 a.m.; Saveology.com Iceplex, Coral Springs
-- Admission: Free
-- Directions: The Iceplex is located one-half mile east of the Sawgrass Expressway off Sample Road and Sportsplex Drive.
-- Season Opener: Saturday vs. Carolina; BB&T Center, Sunrise, 7:30 p.m.