10 Amazing Facts About the NHL's Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers are closing in on their twentieth season in the National Hockey League. The team, based in Sunrise, Florida, has somehow been making it work in Miami, a market not entirely hospitable to the game of ice hockey.
Enjoy these ten random facts about the Florida Panthers NHL hockey club:
Barring severe injury, Stephen Weiss will take over as Florida’s all-time leader in assists this season. He started the 2011-12 season with 209, just 22 behind Olli Jokinen. With an 86 point season, Weiss would also equal Jokinen’s all-time total of 419.
The Florida Panthers have not qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in the Post-9/11 era. Florida last played in the post season during the 1999-00 season. The Panthers were swept in the first round by the New Jersey Devils. The Devils were the eventual Stanley Cup champion, defeating the Dallas Stars in the finals.
Florida made it to the Stanley Cup finals in just their third year of existence. The Panthers met the Colorado Avalanche in the finals but were swept in four games. The three victorious rounds en route to the finals stand as the only three playoff series’ the team has won in its brief history.
Goaltender Craig Anderson holds the record for the most shots faced in a shutout victory. In a Florida Panthers uniform, Anderson shutout the New York Islanders 1-0 on March 2, 2008 while facing 53 shots. Craig is currently a member of the Ottawa Senators.
In an odd twist, Florida’s individual single season record for most goals is higher than the team’s record for most assists. Pavel Bure holds the record for most goals in a season with 59 in 2000-01. Viktor Kozlov holds the Panthers record for most assists in a single season with 53 in 1999-00.
To date, the only player from the Panthers to win a major NHL individual award is Pavel Bure. Pavel won the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy as the NHL player with the most goals twice. In 1999-00, he led the league with 58 goals and the following season he added one to lead with 59. It was just the second and third years that the trophy was awarded.
Florida joined the National Hockey League for the 1993-94 season. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim joined that same season. Unlike the typical expansion team, the Panthers finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, just one point out of a playoff spot.
Ed Jovanovski was Florida’s only first overall pick at the NHL Entry Draft. The Panthers took Jovanovski in the 1994 draft after his first year with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. He returned to play one more year of junior in the OHL before joining the Panthers. Ed played just three and a half seasons with Florida before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks. 2011-12 marks Jovanovski’s return to Florida after spending the past five seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Florida Panthers began play in the Miami Arena. The rink was built in 1988 and had a seating capacity of just 14,703 for hockey. For the 1998-99 season, the Panthers moved to the brand new Bank Atlantic Centre which holds 17,040. The Miami Arena was demolished in 2008 after just 20 years of existence.
Two members of the 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class finished off their National Hockey Careers with the Florida Panthers. Goaltender Ed Belfour played in Florida for just one season, 2006-07. Joe Nieuwendyk played the 2005-06 season and a handful of games in 2006-07 before retiring.