Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

The Florida Panthers got some good news Thursday morning. Center Sam Bennett returned to practice for the first time this regular season, per Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards

Bennett sustained a lower-body injury during the preseason that’s kept him out through six games thus far.

If he can get back into playing shape within the next 48 hours, he could make his season debut Saturday against the Kraken. That would likely coincide with a return to the lineup for captain Aleksander Barkov, says Richards. Barkov missed the Panthers’ Tuesday contest against the Sharks with an illness. 

Bennett, 27, is in the third season of a four-year, $17.7M extension signed with the Panthers in 2021. Last season was arguably the best of his career, logging a career-high 17:24 while producing 16 goals, 24 assists and 40 points in 63 games. The 2014 fourth overall pick also finished fourth on the Panthers in playoff scoring, notching five goals and ten assists for 15 points in 20 games.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference this Thursday morning:

Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle was a full participant in practice this morning and is nearing a return from an upper-body injury, notes The Athletic’s Arpon Basu. He will not enter the lineup tonight against the Blue Jackets, however, TVA’s Renaud Lavoie says. Guhle, who had an assist and a +4 rating through three games, has not played since October 17 against Minnesota. The Habs have gone 2-1-0 in his absence despite injuries also sidelining blueliner David Savard, forcing the emergency recall of Gustav Lindström from AHL Laval. The 16th overall pick in 2020 is in the second year of his three-year, entry-level contract, which counts $863K against the cap.
Despite still being on assignment to AHL Providence, Boston Bruins forward Jesper Boqvist is practicing with the NHL squad today, Bruins independent reporter Joe Haggerty relays. That comes with the news that forwards Jakub Lauko and Milan Lucic are both listed as day-to-day with injuries and will miss between one and two weeks, head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters today. That means recalling Boqvist (or signing PTO invite Danton Heinen) will be necessary to fill out the Bruins’ roster for tonight’s game against Anaheim, as the team has just 11 healthy forwards even after recalling Patrick Brown from Providence this morning.
Another unsigned player still with a team on a PTO is defenseman Mark Pysyk, who has returned to practice after sustaining a lower-body injury in preseason, relays Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Shelly Anderson. The 31-year-old spent last season under contract with Detroit but missed the entire campaign with an Achilles injury. He last suited up in an NHL game nearly 18 months ago, logging 12:51 in an April 29, 2022, game for the Sabres against the Blackhawks.

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