October 16, 2013

Top 20 Players In Florida Panthers History

It is the 20th anniversary season of the Florida Panthers this season. So lets celebrate by naming the top 20 players in Florida Panthers history

1. Pavel Bure - He only played two full seasons in Florida, but what an amazing two seasons it was. Back-to-back campaigns of nearly 60 goals each! And that was in the dead puck era to boot. 152 goals and 251 points in 223 games in a Panthers uniform when all is said and done. No Florida player comes close in terms of the dynamic greatness that Pavel Bure had - even if it was only for two season.

2. Roberto Luongo - Between 2000 and 2006 Roberto Luongo saw more rubber than a tire factory. Those five seasons were hardly great ones by any franchise's definition, but Luongo was the team's saving grace - almost literally. A franchise record 108 wins and 26 shutouts in five seasons.

3. John Vanbiesbrouck - Beezer brought star quality to Florida from 1993 through 1998 and led the team on it's single greatest adventure - the unexpected 1996 appearance in the Stanley Cup final!

4. Scott Mellanby - While Beezer brought the star quality, Scott Mellanby set the tone with hard work and leadership. His grit and determination between 1993 and 2001 set the franchise standard to this day. He's pretty good at killing rats, too.

5. Stephen Weiss - Stephen Weiss is the longest tenured player in Florida Panthers history at 654 games. An electrifying skater and a rare strong offensive player in Florida, Weiss was a long time fan favorite in Miami.

6. Robert Svehla - One of the most underrated defensemen of his time, Robert Svehla excelled at both ends of the ice for the Florida Panthers from 1994-2002. He scored 61 goals and 290 points in 573 games with the Panthers. He only missed 6 games in 7 seasons.

7. Olli Jokinen - Olli Jokinen played seven complete seasons with the Panthers, missing a total of seven games. He is their all-time leader in goals with 188, assists with 231 and points with 419. He played 567 games with Florida, amassed a rating of minus-58 and added 597 penalty minutes.

8. Jay Bouwmeester - Another underrated defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester was a quiet blue-line stud. He played in 471 games in Florida, most while enduring high minutes in all situations. He scored 53 goals and 150 assists for 203 points.

9. Paul Laus - Paul Laus was a real tough guy who got a chance to show he could also play the game while in Florida. And he surprised many people when he played it well. He helped define the Panthers' image between 1993 and 2002 with his hard work and tough play. He is the Florida Panthers all-time leader in penalty minutes with 1,702.

10. Ray Whitney - It was in Florida that this NHL star was born. In 273 games and scoring 97 goals and 130 assists for 227 points. He moved on in 2001 after four seasons, but he still hasn't stopped scoring.

11. Ed Jovanovski - If there was one player who exuded star quality besides Pavel Bure, it was Jovocop. The 1st overall pick in 1994 came in like gangbusters, both offensively and physically. His battles with Eric Lindros were legendary. He was then traded for Bure. He came back to the team many years later, but by then injuries riddled this once promising star.

12. Nathan Horton - The third overall draft pick in 2003, Nathan Horton played 422 games with Florida, scoring 142 goals and 153 assists for 295 points. He really blossomed when he left for Boston.

13. Radek Dvorak - Radek Dvorak had two productive stints with the Florida Panthers. In total he has scored 113 goals and 155 assists for 268 points with the Panthers. Like so many Panthers players (especially in the 1990s era), Dvorak was very much underrated. Gord Murphy - One of the original Florida Panthers, Gord Murphy scored 42 goals and 100 assists in 410 career games. The defenseman

14. Rob Niedermayer - The original Florida Panthers draft pick, Rob Niedermayer was selected 5th overall in 1993. He jumped straight to the NHL and helped the Panthers to Stanley Cup final three years later. He never blossomed offensively but became a quality two way NHL center who was overshadowed by his brother, Scott.

15. Dave Lowry - A long time NHL journeyman, Dave Lowry enjoyed the best years of his carer in Florida (1993-1998). He was known as "Mr. Playoff" after scoring 10 goals during the Panther's playoff run of 1996.

16. Viktor Kozlov - This giant centre was a bit of an enigma at times, but he click nicely with Pavel Bure on his wing. Kozlov scored 101 goals, 190 assists and 291 points between 1997 and 2004.

17. Ray Sheppard - One of the NHL's top marksmen in the 1990s, Ray Sheppard was brought to Florida at the 1996 trade deadline to bolster the team's offensive. It worked, as Sheppard's 8 goals was the second highest on the team in the magical 1996 run to the Stanley Cup final.

18. Bryan Allen - The forgotten throw-in in the Roberto Luongo trade, Bryan Allen proved to be a prototypical Panthers defenseman - big, physical, dependable and logged big minutes.

19. David Booth - Between 2006 and 2011 David Booth was emerging as a top offensive threat. He scored two 20+ goal seasons and a career high 31 in 2008-09. One of the fastest skaters in the league, Booth's career has been sidelined by injury, most notably a scary concussion injury suffered in Florida.

20. Bret Hedican - This defenseman joined Pavel Bure in Florida from Vancouver. He only played three seasons in Florida but provided much needed speed and agility on the blue line.


Anonymous said...

Peter Worrell should have been in this top 20.
But Excellent choice from you,Joe!
Since I love hockey at the age of 12, the Panthers are in my top 5 favorite teams.
Go Panthers!

Anonymous said...

No Ozolinsh? With Hedican?
That's joke!

Anonymous said...

Worrell was trash, and couldn't even fight amongst the rest of the enforcers. He was all size, and that's it