How Panthers Are Going To Clear $3 Million To Activate Duclair Off LTIR

The Florida Panthers are going to run into cap problems when Anthony Duclair returns from the LTIR. Elliotte Friedman said that the team will have to clear $3 million in cap space to activate Duclair off of LTIR. It is going to cost them one way or another.

There are nine total players on the team with a cap hit of at least $3 million. Six of them are forwards, two defence, and one of their goaltenders. Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart, Aaron Ekblad, and Brandon Montour aren't going anywhere. Some may bring up Montour's name in conversation, but he's been too good on a depleted back-end to risk impacting that area of their team any more.

That leaves Sam Bennett, Patric Hornqvist, and Sergei Bobrovsky. There's cases for all of them. Bennett is signed for two more seasons, Bobrovsky is signed for three more after this season, and Hornqvist's contract is over after this season. Bennett would be the easiest contract to move because of his impact and cheap cap hit for a second line centre, but he's arguably more impactful than Duclair in the Panthers' lineup. The team would do well to keep both.

The Panthers would have to move Hornqvist with a sweetener to a team with cap space. Not very many make that list. They would have to not be on his 8-team no-trade list and be willing to further deplete their draft picks.

As for Bobrovsky, it's already known that the Panthers are going to try to move him. Spencer Knight is having a better season than the veteran and is set to see a pay increase from $925,000 to $4.5 million. The team can't afford to be allotting $14.5 million to their goaltending if they aren't top-3 in the league every season. Even that would still be a hefty price to pay. Moving a contract like that midseason would be very difficult, especially with the no-move clause he has in his contract.

Since Hornqvist isn't in the team's plans moving forward, the play has to be to use another draft pick or prospect to move him so the Panthers can activate Duclair.

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