Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice shared with The Hockey News that he will be holding top-six forward Carter Verhaeghe out of the team’s first preseason game. Verhaeghe “tightened up” on the first day of camp, per Maurice, and has been skating on the side as a precaution ever since. However, the Panthers aren’t expecting the injury to last through training camp – with Maurice sharing that, even if he wears a no-contact jersey through Wednesday, Verhaeghe should be playing in preseason games soon.
Verhaeghe has been an important piece of the Florida top-six since joining the team in 2020, averaging 17 minutes a night through three seasons in Florida. He’s also tallied 164 points in 202 career games with the Panthers, including a staggering 42 goals and 73 points in 81 games last season. Going over those scoring totals makes it clear why Florida would want to be careful with overextending Verhaeghe. Maurice’s emphasis on being cautious also gives fans good insight into how the team is planning to operate. Florida faced a slew of injuries last season, including an Achilles injury that held Anthony Duclair out of a majority of the season and are looking to flip those fortunes in a new year. Verhaeghe is the first to face this cautiousness but how it will carry into the regular season should be interesting to see.
Other notes from around the league:
- The Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka shared that the San Jose Sharks would be open to trading Logan Couture or Tomas Hertl, if the veterans want to leave. It seems San Jose recognizes the situation they’re in and understands if their aging veterans want to chase the playoffs. However, their contracts may be difficult to move. Couture carries an $8MM cap hit and Hertl carries $8.1375MM, both with some sort of trade protection. While a deal would come at the request of either player, meaning trade protection wouldn’t likely make much impact, it’ll still be challenging to work out the logistics in the flat-cap environment the NHL currently finds itself in. Nonetheless, being offered top-end talent previously only offered to San Jose should be enticing for any NHL club.
- New Senators owner Michael Andlauer spoke to the team’s salary cap situation and unsigned RFA Shane Pinto. He told the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch that, “We’re at the cap. We have a problem signing Shane Pinto because we are at the cap. At the end of the end of the day, it’s about sustainability and making sure we have enough money in the coffers to pay our players and making sure we’re sustainable”. He went on to emphasize that player success drives fan interest, which then drives the money ownership can put back toward the players. While these comments likely don’t impact the chances of Pinto re-signing, they could limit the upside of his cap hit.