It may have been a forgone conclusion that Roberto Luongo and James Reimer were going to be the goaltending duo in Florida, but Luongo's hip surgery in the off-season did add some clouds of doubt to that thought, at least to start the season. On Thursday morning, however, the Panthers did indeed demote Reto Berra, among others, to the AHL, solidifying the expected duo and all is well in Panthers camp. Berra will likely be the first call-up during the season, if needed.
The Panthers are down to 27 players on their camp roster now, now in need of at least four more cuts. There are no cap concerns for this team, because even with their 27-man roster, they are still $6.5 million clear of the cap ceiling.
No surprises in Carolina either, as Alex Nedeljkovic was the last goalie to be sent down for the Hurricanes, leaving the tandem of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack to take the reins and help the Canes back into the playoffs. With the Hurricanes re-signing Ward in the summer, saving him from unrestricted free agency, it muddles up the picture a little bit on how the goaltending split will work. Will the Stanley Cup winning veteran get the first shake? I would have assume so, but the leash will be short, as the Hurricanes will likely want to compete for as long as possible this season.
The Hurricanes are still very much a budget team heading into this season, as their current camp roster now sits at 32 players, including one unsigned draft pick and a professional tryout, with $11.7 million left under the cap ceiling. Even cutting the seven players under contract will bring them much closer to the floor, than anything else.
Linus Ullmark, who appeared in 20 games for the Sabres last season, was the last goalie cut in Buffalo this morning, leaving the tandem of Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson to get the job done at the start of the season. Lehner is expected to take the number one role and assume the better part of the minutes, while Nilsson will offer up a decent veteran presence as the back-up for the year, hoping to take a good chunk of minutes as well. I would almost suspect a 70-30 split and I currently have Lehner projected for the 60-point range.
The Sabres have 31 players in camp after a number of cuts on Thursday morning and Rasmus Ristolainen is in camp, still negotiating a new deal as a restricted free agent. Their camp also includes another RFA, Casey Nelson, and three tryouts, so there are 26 players in camp with contracts. Those 26 players have still left $6.3 million under the ceiling, much of which is going to be put towards Ristolainen's deal, one would assume. But how much?