The Florida Panthers already have too many forwards, and yet one more is returning today. The team has activated Maxim Mamin from injured reserve and expects to have him on the first line with Carter Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov this evening. To clear a roster spot for Mamin, the team has sent Owen Tippett back to the AHL once again.
This isn’t the first time Tippett finds himself without much opportunity in Florida. He was sent to the minors for a few days last month, was scratched the past two games, and played fewer than eight minutes in his last appearance. The young forward’s name has been in the rumor mill for months, and it was brought up again today by Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet’s The Jeff Marek Show:
Obviously you would like to see him play, I’m sure he wants to play. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the hold up of a trade. [Teams] scouted him in the American Hockey League, I’m sure there are plenty of teams that scouted him when he was a junior. Everyone kind of knows, or has an opinion on what they have or haven’t got yet. So while I’m sure [not playing] sucks for him, it doesn’t hold up a deal in my mind. And I think he’s going to be traded, I think it’s just a matter of–is he going to be part of a package to get something, or does he just go himself.
Sending Tippett to the minor leagues does give him a chance to play, but as Friedman suggests, it’s not like he has much to prove at that level. The 23-year-old forward recorded four points in his two-game stint with the Charlotte Checkers earlier this season and overall has 20 goals and 46 points in 53 career AHL appearances. Selected tenth overall by the Panthers in 2017, Tippett possesses a huge shot and powerful frame, but still faces inconsistency when trying to create offense for his linemates. Through 94 regular season games in his NHL career he has 14 goals and 33 points, though his short playoff run last year with four points in six games suggested he might have even more to offer in the postseason.