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Ivan Majesky

In the summer of 2002 the Florida Panthers brought over a 26 year old defenseman that they hoped could inject some instant help onto their blueline.

His name was Ivan Majesky. He was a giant of a defenseman out of Slovakia. The six-foot-five and 225 pounder had spent the previous two seasons as a fan favorite with Ilves Tampere in Finland. He also represented Slovakia at the 2002 Olympics.

Majesky was a hulking presence and not shy to impose his physical advantage on opposing forwards. He was almost strictly a stay-at-home defenseman but he had decent skating ability for a man his size and was a strong outlet passer. He had a heavy, albeit erratic, shot.

Florida had drafted Majesky with the 167th overall draft pick in 2001. They managed to get a serviceable season out of him in 2002-03, scoring four goals and twelve points while playing all 82 games for the Panthers. The team was then able to flip him to the Atlanta Thrashers in the off-season, upgrading to a second round pick (they selected Kamil Kreps).

Majesky would play in 63 games for the Thrashers in 2003-04, but was not resigned by the team following the lost 2004-05 lockout season.

Majesky would resurface with the Washington Capitals in 2005-06, overcoming a serious knee injury that occurred in the previous season's World Championships. He famously - or maybe we should say infamously - scored his only goal with Washington with a 170-foot bouncer against Pittsburgh's Sebastian Caron.

Majesky would return to Europe to play many more seasons, be it in Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic and Slovakia. He also returned to the Olympics in 2006, and participated in six World Championships.

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