| Florida Panthers|
The Florida Panthers are a professional ice hockey team based in Sunrise, Florida, in the South Florida metropolitan area. They are members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). They play their games at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise and are currently the southernmost team in the NHL.
Blockbuster Video magnate H. Wayne Huizenga was awarded an NHL franchise for Miami on December 10, 1992. The Panthers were brought into the league with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and took part in the 1993 expansion draft, which was hosted by the Quebec Nordiques. The expansion draft produced 10 players that would be a part of the 1996 Eastern Conference championship team. The team played at the Miami Arena, and its first major stars were New York Rangers goaltender castoff John Vanbiesbrouck, rookie Rob Niedermayer, and Scott Mellanby, who scored 30 goals. Their first game was a 4-4 tie on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks. The first win in franchise history was a 2-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Thunderdome before a then-NHL record crowd of 27,227. The Panthers had one of the most successful first seasons of any expansion team (and the best first year of any NHL team), finishing one point below .500 and narrowly missing out on the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Their first-year success was attributed mainly to the "trap defense" that first-year coach Roger Neilson implemented. This conservative style was widely criticized by NHL teams; some even suggested that the Panthers were ruining the game at the time.
After another close brush with the playoffs in 1994–95, Neilson was fired and replaced by Doug MacLean. The team then acquired Ray Sheppard from the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline in 1995–96 and looked toward the playoffs for the first time.
Also during that season, a very unusual goal celebration developed in Miami. On the night of the Panthers' 1995–96 home opener, a rat scurried across the team's locker room. Mellanby reacted by "one-timing" the rat against the wall, killing it. That night, he scored two goals, which Vanbiesbrouck quipped was "a rat trick." Two nights later, as the story found its way into the world, a few fans threw rubber rats on the ice in celebration of a goal. The rubber rat count went from 16 for the third home game to over 2,000 during the playoffs.
In the 1996 playoffs, as the fourth seed, the Panthers faced the Boston Bruins in the first round and won in five games. Bill Lindsay's famous series-clinching goal is still a trademark image for the incredible run the third-year franchise went on. The Cats went on to upset the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers in six games and then the second-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in seven (with Tom Fitzgerald scoring what would end up being the game-winning goal) to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Their opponent, the Colorado Avalanche, swept the Panthers in four games. Uwe Krupp scored the winning goal on a slap shot from the blue line for the Avalanche in the third overtime of Game 4 to defeat the Panthers 1-0. Colorado was led by captain Joe Sakic in the franchise's first year in Denver after moving from Quebec City.
The Panthers would begin the next season with a 17–game unbeaten streak but faded in the second half of the season. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Wayne Gretzky-led Rangers in five games.
The 1997–98 season would be a return to mediocrity for the Panthers. After a 7–12–4 start, the Panthers fired MacLean, replacing him for the season with general manager Bryan Murray. The change did not aid matters, as Florida suffered a franchise-worst 24–43–15 record, including a 15–game winless streak. This season would also mark the end of Vanbiesbrouck's time in Florida, who in the midst of that streak, was shelled by the Chicago Blackhawks and never played another game for the Panthers. He would sign with the Flyers that off-season as a free agent.
The Panthers moved into the brand new National Car Rental Center (now known as BankAtlantic Center) in 1998. In 1998–99, they acquired Pavel Bure (the "Russian Rocket"), in a blockbuster trade with the Vancouver Canucks. They reached the playoffs again in 1999–00, losing in a first-round sweep to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils.
The team slumped in 2000–01. The following season, 2001–02, the Panthers had their worst record ever. Bure struggled despite being reunited with his brother Valeri, and was traded to the Rangers at the 2002 trading deadline.
The Panthers then started coveting defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who was widely tipped to be picked first overall in the 2002 draft. But then-General Manager Rick Dudley sent Florida's first pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who took winger Rick Nash. The Atlanta Thrashers, after picking goalie Kari Lehtonen second overall, announced that the Panthers had given them two draft picks to guarantee that Bouwmeester would still be available for Florida's selection. Bouwmeester was selected third overall by the Panthers. Said then-head coach Mike Keenan, "We shouldn’t have done that ... Jay would have been number-one if we'd kept that pick."
In 2003, the Panthers hosted the NHL All-Star Weekend in which the Western Conference earned a 6–5 victory after the first OT shootout in All-Star history. The West overcame a four-goal outburst by Thrashers winger Dany Heatley, who took home MVP honors in his first All-Star Game.
On June 23, 2006, the Panthers were again involved in a blockbuster trade with the Vancouver Canucks, sending Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek, and a sixth-round draft pick (Sergei Shirokov) in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld, and Bryan Allen. This trade has been regarded by some as one of the worst trades in professional sports history. Luongo who was and still is at the prime of his career is one of the top goalies in the NHL. Bertuzzi only played a handful of games for the Cats before getting injured. He would be traded to Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline for Shawn Matthias and prospect Rob Capellupo. Alex Auld ended up being a poor replacement for the Panthers former franchise goalie and was let go after one season.
On June 22, 2007, the Florida Panthers were involved in yet another draft day deal involving a goalie. The Florida Panthers acquired Tomas Vokoun from the Nashville Predators in exchange for three draft picks, a first round pick in 2008, a second round pick in 2008, and a conditional second round pick that can be used in 2007 or 2008. The move would eventually pay off when Vokoun was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
On July 28, 2007, the Florida Panthers unveiled their new jerseys to over 11,000 fans at the BankAtlantic Center during the first intermission of the Panthers 1996 Reunion game. Star forwards Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss were both in full gear to help showcase the sweater changes.
As of 2008, the Florida Panthers are the only team in the NHL to have a lifetime winning percentage of .500 or better over the team with the most Stanley Cup titles in NHL history, the Montreal Canadiens.
The Panthers finished the 2008–09 season with a strong 41-30-11 record and 93 points, their second best ever in franchise history. Despite this, however, the Panthers missed the playoffs for an eighth straight season, the current longest streak in the NHL.
On November 23, 2009 the Panthers made their third jersey, ridding red from the alternate jersey, replacing it with powder blue.
The Florida Panthers missed the playoffs for the 9th consecutive time in the 2009-10 NHL Season, making them the first team in NHL history to do so in one city. If the Panthers are to miss the playoffs in the 2010-11 NHL Season, they will have the sole record for most consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, with 10.
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Panthers. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Florida Panthers seasons.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Records as of the end of the 2009-10 season.
|2005–06||82||37||34||11||85||240||257||1255||4th, Southeast||Did not qualify|
|2006–07||82||35||31||16||86||247||257||1059||4th, Southeast||Did not qualify|
|2007–08||82||38||35||9||85||216||226||1002||3rd, Southeast||Did not qualify|
|2008–09||82||41||30||11||93||234||231||884||3rd, Southeast||Did not qualify|
|2009–10||82||32||37||13||77||208||234||977||5th, Southeast||Did not qualify|
Updated October 7, 2010.
- Brian Skrudland, 1993–97
- Scott Mellanby, 1997–2001
- Pavel Bure & Paul Laus, 2001–02 (co-captains)
- No captain, 2002–03
- Olli Jokinen, 2003–08
- No captain, 2008–09
- Bryan McCabe, 2009–present
First-round draft picks
- 1993: Rob Niedermayer (5th overall)
- 1994: Ed Jovanovski (1st overall)
- 1995: Radek Dvorak (10th overall)
- 1996: Marcus Nilson (20th overall)
- 1997: Mike Brown (20th overall)
- 1998: None
- 1999: Denis Shvidki (12th overall)
- 2000: None
- 2001: Stephen Weiss (4th overall) & Lukas Krajicek (24th overall)
- 2002: Jay Bouwmeester (3rd overall) & Petr Taticek (9th overall)
- 2003: Nathan Horton (3rd overall) & Anthony Stewart (25th overall)
- 2004: Rostislav Olesz (7th overall)
- 2005: Kenndal McArdle (20th overall)
- 2006: Michael Frolik (10th overall)
- 2007: Keaton Ellerby (10th overall)
- 2008: None
- 2009: Dmitri Kulikov (14th overall)
- 2010: Erik Gudbranson (3rd overall), Nick Bjugstad (19th overall) & Quinton Howden (25th overall)
Franchise scoring leaders
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Panthers player
NHL awards and trophies
Prince of Wales Trophy Stanley Cup
Franchise individual records
- Most goals in a season: Pavel Bure, 59 (2000–01)
- Most assists in a season: Viktor Kozlov, 53 (1999–2000)
- Most points in a season: Pavel Bure, 94 (1999–2000)
- Most penalty minutes in a season: Peter Worrell, 354 (2001–02)
- Most points in a season, defenceman: Robert Svehla, 57 (1995–96)
- Most points in a season, rookie: Jesse Belanger, 50 (1993–94)
- Most wins in a season: Roberto Luongo, 35 (2005–06)
- Most saves in a shutout win: Craig Anderson, 53 (NHL record)
- Most shutouts in a season: Roberto Luongo, 7 (2003–04)
- All time leader in goals against average: John Vanbiesbrouck, 2.58
- All time leader in shutouts: Roberto Luongo, 26
- All time leader in games played by a goaltender: Roberto Luongo, 318
- All time leader in wins by a goaltender: Roberto Luongo, 108
- ↑ Florida Panthers FAQ Page.
- ↑ McDonell, Chris. (2005). Hockey's Greatest Stars: Legends and Young Lions. Firefly Books, 135. ISBN 1–55407–038–4.
- ↑ Hockeydb.com, Florida Panthers season statistics and records.
- ↑ Florida Panthers - Team - Roster. Florida Panthers. Retrieved on 2010-10-07.
|The Franchise||Franchise • Expansion Draft • Players • GMs • Head Coaches • Seasons • Records • Draft Picks|
|Arenas||Miami Arena • BB&T Center|
|Stanley Cup Finals Appearance||1996|
|Affiliates||Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL)|
|Florida Panthers head coaches|
|Neilson • MacLean • B. Murray • T. Murray • Sutter • Keenan • Dudley • Torchetti • Martin • DeBoer|
|Florida Panthers seasons|
|1993–94 • 1994–95 • 1995–96 • 1996–97 • 1997–98 • 1998–99 • 1999–00 • 2000–01 •|
2001–02 • 2002–03 • 2003–04 • 2004–05 • 2005–06 • 2006–07 • 2007–08 • 2008–09 • 2009–10
|National Hockey League|
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