The Florida Panthers are one of the younger franchises in the NHL. They have only been around for 26 seasons. It all started in 1993. Out of those 26 seasons, they have only made five playoff appearances and one trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In that finals, they met the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche swept the Panthers in four games. They share the state of Florida with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Many say that hockey will not make in the state of Florida. The major reason is that we never have much of a winter in the state. The hockey fans in the state of Florida would love to have more of a rivalry between the Panthers and Lightning. The two teams will need to meet in the postseason to make more interesting. Here are the four players that I would put on their Mount Rushmore.
Vanbiesbrouck was drafted by the New York Rangers in 1981. He played 11 seasons with the Rangers. He was back-up to Mike Richter. In 1993 he arrived in Sunrise, Florida to play for the Florida Panthers. He played 268 games in a Florida Panthers uniform. Vanbiesbrouck was in net for the only time the Panthers made to the Stanley Cup Finals. He made 6,939 saves which are huge in Panthers history. Vanbiesbrouck had a record of 106-108 record, 666 goalies allowed. Many will look and say that isn’t great but he is one of the best players in Panthers history.
Barkov was taken in the 2013 NHL draft in the first round 2nd overall. So far he has played 479 games all with the Florida Panthers. Barkov has scored 155 goals, 252 assists, and 407 points. He is a plus 32 with 27 game-winning goals. Barkov is a foundation player for the Panthers. He has time on his side at the age of 24. So far the best season he has was the 2018-19 season. He played in all 82 games. Barkov had 96 points with 35 goals and 61 assists. That season he also won the Lady Byng trophy which is given to the player with the least amount of penalty minutes.
Luongo was drafted in the first round by the New York Islanders. He moved to play for the Florida Panthers starting in 2000 and left the team in 2006 and came back in 2013. Luongo is ranked as the top two goalies in Panthers’ history probably behind John Vanbiesbrouck. He played 11 years for the Panthers and recently had his number retired. His stats were 572 games, 247 of those were starts, 230 wins with 241 loses. Luongo had a 2.99 GAA. He led the Panthers to some playoff appearances. He belongs on this list as one of the best players to wear the uniform.
He was drafted by the Florida Panthers in 1994 in the first round and first overall. Jovanovski played seven years for the Panthers. He had 362 games played, 33 goals, 69 assists, and 102 points. Jovanovski had 619 penalty minutes and a minus 41 rating. He flourished on the power play with 31 points nine goals and 22 assists. The last time that he played for the Panthers was the 2013-14 season. It was hard to pick players but he had to be on the list.
Did I get the players that should be on the Mount Rushmore for the Florida Panthers? Leave a comment below.
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