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#FlaPanthers Thursday Notebook: Kulikov Deal Reportedly Done ... Santorelli Waived, Kovalev In ... Open Practice at the Arena

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Panthers are on the verge of signing restricted free agent Dmitry Kulikov to a two-year deal as reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Assistant general manager Mike Santos said Thursday evening that a deal was not done as of yet.

"There are a lot of hoops to jump through,'' he said.

Kulikov, 22, is expected to take his physical on Friday and could be added to the active roster and play Saturday against Carolina.

Without Kulikov, Florida could be looking at starting the season shorthanded.

Although Ed Jovanovski was back at practice Wednesday after missing two days, Mike Weaver was out after apparently pulling something during Wednesday's scrimmage. "He's a question mark on the very short-term,'' Dineen said.

The Panthers are also looking at starting the season without Erik Gudbranson as he recovers from shoulder surgery performed in Sept.

Rookie Alex Petrovic could stick around as the seventh defenseman in case Kulikov or Weaver isn't ready to go.

-- The Panthers trimmed the roster by sending five players (Quinton Howden, Jacob Markstrom, Jon Rheault, Colby Robak and Drew Shore) back to AHL San Antonio.

Florida also released veteran Marek Svatos from his try out and placed Mike Santorelli on waivers.

The Panthers have to be at 23 players by 3 p.m. but could have Gudbranson, Marcel Goc and Sean Bergenheim start the season on injured reserve.

Florida will sign 39-year-old Alex Kovalev to a one-year deal on Friday.

-- Florida will hold its final workout of the abbreviated training camp Friday -- and will do so at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. The public is invited to attend the free event at the arena.

The Panthers haven't been in their locker room since losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals to the Devils in April. Dineen still has the Devils' lineup written on the dry erase board inside his arena office.

"It's been a long time. I went to a boxing match [at the arena], saw Neil Diamond,'' Dineen said. "But it will be good to see our guys on that ice.''

-- The Panthers said less than 1,000 tickets remain for Saturday's season opener against Carolina.

PANTHERS TRAINING CAMP
-- When, Where: Friday, 10 a.m.; BB&T Center, Sunrise
-- Admission: Free
-- Directions: The BB&T Center, formerly the BankAtlantic Center, is located on 136th Ave. across from the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise.
-- Season Opener: Saturday vs. Carolina; BB&T Center, Sunrise, 7:30 p.m.

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