4:00 PM: The Panthers have officially announced the recalls, and added one name that wasn’t included in Richards’ report: goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, 25, is a 2016 second-round pick who played in 17 games with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades and posted an 11-3-1 record and .921 save percentage in those games. Fitzpatrick saw action in one AHL game this season, stopping 23 of 25 shots in an April 1st overtime loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds. With Guzda, Lyon, and Bobrovsky ahead of him on the depth chart something would have to go quite wrong for him to see time in these playoffs, so this recall is more about adding some depth to the team than anything else.
10:37 AM: The Florida Panthers have brought up their complement of Black Aces for the remainder of the playoffs today ahead of Game 3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Per Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards, the following players have been brought up from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers:
F Connor Bunnaman
F Grigori Denisenko
F Patrick Giles
F Aleksi Heponiemi
D Lucas Carlsson
D Matt Kiersted
D Santtu Kinnunen
D John Ludvig
D Calle Själin
G Mack Guzda
The recalls come after the Hershey Bears eliminated Charlotte from the Calder Cup Playoffs on May 4, taking their Atlantic Division semifinal series by a count of 3-1.
The two most intriguing names on this list are Denisenko and Heponiemi, both previously highly-touted prospects that have yet to make a notable NHL impact. Denisenko struggled in the minors this year and posted no points and a -1 rating in four playoff games for Charlotte. The 24-year-old Heponiemi, however, led the team with seven points in seven playoff games.
One name that Panthers fans will definitely recognize is Carlsson, who dropped back into an AHL role this season after appearing in 40 games for Florida during 2021-22. Carlsson was one of the best defenders in the AHL this season, recording 54 points in 61 games along with a +24 rating. He’s one of the more dependable recall options for Florida should injuries pop up among their defensemen.
The 24-year-old Kinnunen is also a name to watch for in the coming years. A seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2018, Kinnunen broke out for 35 points in 69 regular-season games and six points in seven playoff games for Charlotte during his first season in North America.