It looks like the Florida Panthers will still be missing Eetu Luostarinen in the roster.
Panthers head coach Paul Maurice confirmed shortly before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights that Panthers center will not return to the range for the game.
Luostarinen has been out of the roster since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes due to a lower-body injury. He only recorded 7:32 of ice time in the game, leaving midway through the second period, although it’s still unclear what caused the injury. It was announced before the Cup Final that he was to be back in time for Game 1, but his injury kept him out of training for both games in Vegas to start the series.
Luostarinen had a strong playoff run, with two goals, three assists and five points in 16 games during the Panthers’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals. This comes after a career year in the regular season, where he set new career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points in 82 games.
Ryan Lomberg has replaced Luostarinen in his usual place on the third row with Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell so far, and Zac Dalpe has entered the line-up following the injury. Lomberg has one goal in nine playoff games so far for the Panthers, while Dalpe has one goal in ten games.
Luostarinen was a second-round pick by the Hurricanes in 2017 and played in eight games for the Canes before being dealt to the Panthers as part of Vincent Trocheck’s return. Luostarinen is in the final year of a two-year, $1.5 million cap and is expected to become a restricted free agent this offseason.
The Panthers were hoping to get Luostarinen back now, especially as they currently find themselves trailing 1-0 in the Cup final against the Golden Knights. They will look to even the series on Monday night before returning home for two games in Sunrise, Florida.