The Florida Panthers made the first big trim of their training camp roster today, assigning forwards Henry Bowlby, Grigori Denisenko, Aleksi Heopniemi, Logan Hutsko, Serron Noel and Cole Schwindt and defenseman Max Gildon to Charlotte.
Denisenko, 21, is beginning his second pro campaign in North America, logging nine points (5g, 4a) in 15 games with Syracuse and four points (0g, 4a) in seven games with Florida a season ago. The 15th overall pick in 2018, Denisenko spent two season in the KHL with Lokomotiv prior to making the jump overseas, recording 18 points (10g, 8a) in 63 games.
Heponiemi, 22, earned his first NHL stint last season, recording two points (1g, 1a) in nine games for Florida to go along with six points (0g, 6a) in six games for Syracuse. As a rookie in 2019-20, he posted 14 points (3g, 11a) in 49 games for Springfield. A second-round pick in 2017, Heponiemi led all Liiga rookies in scoring in 2018-19 with a 46-point campaign for Karpat after a two-year junior career that saw him win the WHL’s Rookie of the Year award in 2016-17 and then lead the WHL in assists in 2017-18.
Hutsko, 22, is set to begin his pro career after four years at Boston College. The Florida native, who was a third-round selection by Florida in 2018, notched 101 points (41g, 60a) in 114 games over his collegiate career, helping lead BC to three Hockey East regular season championships and being named the conference Rookie of the Year in 2017-18.
Noel, 21, began his pro career last season with four points (1g, 3a) in eight games for the Syracuse Crunch. A second-round pick in 2018, Noel racked up 202 points (88g, 114a) in 241 OHL games for Oshawa and Kitchener.
Schwindt, 20, logged 10 games for Syracuse last season and posted two points (1g, 1a) in his first pro stint. Prior to turning pro Schwindt - who was taken in the third-round by Florida in 2019 - starred for the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads, logging 138 points (55g, 83) in 191 games over three seasons.
Gildon, 22, posted 19 points (2g, 17a) in 32 games for Bakersfield last season, ranking third among rookie defensemen and tying for seventh among all league blue liners - a showing that earned him a spot on the AHL All-Rookie Team. The third-round pick spent three seasons at the University of New Hampshire prior to turning pro, recording 73 points (21g, 52a) in 101 games while leading the Wildcats’ blue line in scoring all three years.
UPDATE: Zac Dalpe and Noah Juulsen cleared on Saturday, while Samuel Montembeault was claimed by Montreal.
Additionally, the Panthers placed forward Zac Dalpe, defenseman Noah Juulsen and goalie Samuel Montembeault on waivers on Friday for the purpose of assignment to Charlotte.
Dalpe, 31, is a familiar face for Checkers fans, having spent three seasons from 2010-13 in Charlotte and making an impact on the franchise record book - he ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list and set the rookie scoring record in 2010-11. Over his 11 pro season Dalpe has posted 286 points (151g, 135a) in 383 AHL games and 28 points (14g, 14a) in 153 NHL games.
Juulsen, 24, has four pro seasons under his belt, posting 10 points (1g, 9a) in 52 AHL games and 18 points (3g, 15a) in 100 NHL games. A first-round pick by Montreal in 2015, Juulsen split last season between Florida and Syracuse.
Montembeault, 24, has gone 39-48-17 with a 3.17 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage in 104 AHL games and 9-8-3 with a 3.20 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage. The 2015 third-round pick spent the entirety of last season in the AHL with Syracuse, going 8-4-1 in 13 appearances for the Crunch.
Florida also released forward Karch Bachman and goalie Evan Fitzpatrick from their training camp invites. Both players are on AHL contracts with the Checkers and will now report to Charlotte.
Bachman, 24, spent last season with the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits, posting 14 points (10g, 4a) in 32 games and ranking second among team rookies in goals.
Fitzpatrick, 23, has three pro seasons under his belt, going 4-3-0 with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 11 AHL games with San Antonio and Utica and 15-15-5 with a 3.50 goals-against average and a .873 save percentage in 37 ECHL games with Tulsa and Brampton.
Also coming from Florida's training camp is Justin Nachbaur, who has signed an AHL contract with the Checkers.
The 21-year-old winger has spent the last few weeks as an invite at both Florida’s development and training camp. Nachbaur is coming off a four-year WHL career in which he posted 89 points (45g, 44a) and 228 penalty minutes over 216 games with the Prince Albert Raiders.
On the other side of the dual-affiliation, the Seattle Kraken have released forward Ryan Lohin from his training camp invite. The 25-year-old has now signed an AHL contract with the Checkers and will report to Charlotte.
A seventh-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2016, Lohin has two full pro seasons on his resume, totaling 15 points (7g, 8a) in 28 AHL games with Syracuse and 12 points (7g, 5a) in 21 ECHL games with Orlando. Last season he tied for fourth on the Crunch in scoring and ranked sixth in goals.