Florida Panthers Get Tough Injury News On Sam Bennett

The Florida Panthers have gotten a tough break just days away from the start of their 2023-24 season. No. 2 center Sam Bennett was seen with a walking boot on his left foot at Amerant Bank Arena Saturday morning. 

The rough-and-tumble forward was pulled from the Panthers' exhibition game Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period due to a lower-body injury. Further evaluation on Friday has led to what is undoubtedly not a positive diagnosis. 

Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice indicated that Bennett is now very unlikely for the season opener on Thursday night in Minnesota against the Wild. 

“I’m going to list him as longer than day-to-day,” Maurice said. Bennett is seen as "doubtful" for the opener. He's expected to be out for about two weeks at least. 

25-year-old Finnish center Eetu Luostarinen was shifted to the wing on the 3rd line last season, but will now likely be asked to slide back into the pivot to fill Bennett's spot. Luostarinen had a fine season last year, posting 17 goals and 43 points with a robust plus-19 rating. 

The Panthers will miss Bennett, however, not only for the 40-point production that he provides, but also for the chaos he creates for the opposition with his physical play.

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