SUNRISE, Fla. -- Center Marcel Goc will make his season debut for the Florida Panthers Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets.
Goc missed the first six games because of a lower-body injury sustained while he played in Germany during the lockout.
Goc is expected to center the top line between Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg.
"No injury comes at a good time, and this one came just a few days before the lockout was over," Goc said. "It was really bad timing, but you can't predict that. Things happen. I had to do my rehab work and I put the time in, and now I'm back, I'm excited and I hope I can help the team."
The Panthers are off to a disappointing 1-5 start, and have missed Goc's versatility.
"He's not a kind of player that you notice a heck of a lot during the course of the game, but boy, we use him in a lot of different situations," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "He kind of gives us one more bullet in the chamber to throw out in many different situations.
"In any sport there's a level of trust that gets into coaching when you're looking for that player that's going to make a difference, whether it's a faceoff or making a responsible play or can go out and give you a quality play on offense. Marcel is pretty diversified. He can do a lot of things."
While the injury was disappointing, Goc said he enjoyed playing in Germany because it gave him the opportunity to play on the same Manheim team as his younger brother Nikolai.
The big highlight, though, was a game against Hanover, which featured Goc's older brother Sasha.
"That was fun," Goc said. "The one game I played with my younger brother against my older brother, that was pretty cool. That was fun to play in that game."