The Florida Panthers announced Wednesday that the team has reassigned goalie Spencer Knight and winger Grigori Denisenko to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Alex Lyon has been recalled to replace Knight’s spot on the roster.
While some eyebrows might raise at Knight getting demoted to the minors, this is purely a cap-related transaction. With winger Anthony Duclair expected to make his season debut Friday as he returns from an Achilles tear, the Panthers need to scratch and claw for every dime of cap space possible in order to take Duclair’s $3MM cap hit off long-term injured reserve.
Reassigning Knight, Denisenko, and Chris Tierney, who Florida waived hours ago, would free up an additional $2.6MM in space to bring their projected cap hit down to roughly $85.1MM. While over the $82.5MM Upper Limit, Patric Hornqvist’s $5.3MM cap hit remains on LTIR to keep them compliant.
While Knight will surely return after the Panthers’ cap situation is resolved, it’s not a guarantee Denisenko receives an immediate call-up. The 15th overall pick in 2018 has again been limited to a fourth-line role and has three assists in 17 games with Florida this year.
Lyon has made six appearances for the Panthers in 2022-23, recording a .887 save percentage and a 3-2-1 record.