This ends a nine-day stint on the NHL roster for Asplund, whom the Panthers recalled from Charlotte on November 2. However, the 25-year-old did not enter the lineup, sitting as a healthy scratch for five games while traveling with the team.
Returning him to Charlotte could indicate that at least one injured reserve activation is imminent. Both center Sam Bennett and defenseman Brandon Montour are nearing returns from their respective injuries, and the Panthers were carrying 22 players on the active roster. That means one player needs to be moved elsewhere to make room for Bennett and Montour while staying under the 23-player limit.
The Swedish-born 2016 second-round pick signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Panthers in July after seeing his NHL ice time decrease dramatically last season. Just two seasons ago, Asplund was viewed as one of the better defensive wingers in the league, posting 27 points in 80 games with the Sabres in 2021-22 and earning a handful of third- and fourth-place Selke Trophy votes.
Asplund slipped down the Sabres’ depth chart last season, though, recording just two goals and eight points in 27 games before the Predators acquired him at the trade deadline for a 2025 seventh-round pick. He appeared in 19 games down the stretch for the Predators, failing to record a single point and posting a -6 rating while averaging just over ten minutes per game.
That fateful stint with the Predators significantly harmed his stock on the free agent market after being non-tendered, forcing him to settle for a two-way deal with a minimum guaranteed salary of $450K. He did not make the Panthers’ roster out of camp and cleared waivers back in October, meaning he can be recalled to the Panthers for up to 21 more days before he needs waivers to return to Charlotte again.
In seven games with the Checkers this season, Asplund has two goals, three assists and a -1 rating. He will be a restricted free agent next summer.