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Former Panthers Dominate Playoff Rosters

Aside from the actual Florida Panthers making the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs there are a lot of former Cats on the other teams participating in the post-season. What is the point of bringing this up? During the 12 year’s without playoff hockey Panthers fans would use this time of year as an excuse to cheer on former members of the organization. Thankfully that is not the case this season as fans in South Florida finally have their club to cheer for in the final 16. Of course that does not mean we should completely forget about our team’s history, especially the bright spots (David Booth) in the dark 12 year’s without playoff action. To help bring back some memories, good or bad, we have compiled a complete list of former Panthers players currently playing for the other organizations in the post-season.

Eastern Conference

#1 New York Rangers:

#44 Steve Eminger – D, played 9 games for Florida during the 2008-2009 season.

#2 Boston Bruins:

#11 Gregory Campbell – C, was a member of the Panthers from 2003 to 2010.

#18 Nathan Horton – RW **, drafted 3rd overall by Florida in 2003.

#44 Dennis Seidenberg – D, Traded to Boston from Florida on March 3rd, 2010.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins:

No former Panthers on Pittsburgh’s active roster.

#5 Philadelphia Flyers:

#6 Andreas Lilja – D, played in 135 games for the Panthers.

#6 New Jersey Devils:

#18 Steve Bernier – RW, spent the 2010-2011 season in South Florida, registering 15 points in 68 games.

#20 Ryan Carter – C, started this season with the Cats before being claimed off of waivers.

#7 Washington Capitals:

#29 Tomas Vokoun – G, was the Panthers #1 goaltender for four seasons before signing with Washington.

#6 Dennis Wideman – D, picked up 9 goals in one season with Florida.

#8 Ottawa Senators:

#41 Craig Anderson – G, a definite fan favorite during three year’s in Sunrise, FL.

#35 Alex Auld – G, part of the blockbuster trade that sent Luongo to the Canucks.

#17 Filip Kuba – D, played only 18 games in two year’s with the Panthers.

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver Canucks:

#4 Keith Ballard – D, still famous in South Florida for his hip check on Evgeni Malkin.

#34 Byron Bitz – RW, was injured during the majority of his time with Florida.

#7 David Booth – LW, spent six year’s with the Panthers before being traded at the start of this season.

#20 Chris Higgins – LW, another member of the 2010-2011 “blueprint” squad.

#1 Roberto Luongo – G, a member of the Cats for five seasons before being dealt to Vancouver.

#2 St. Louis Blues:

No former Panthers on St. Louis’ active roster.

#3 Phoenix Coyotes:

#13 Ray Whitney – LW, was on Florida’s roster the last time the team made the playoffs.

#4 Nashville Predators:

No former Florida players on the Predators active roster.

#5 Detroit Red Wings

#44 Todd Bertuzzi – RW, traded to Detroit for Shawn Matthias in 2007.

#6 Chicago Blackhawks:

#67 Michael Frolik – RW, drafted by Florida in the 2006 entry draft.

#5 Steve Montador – D, played as a d-man and forward during his three year’s with the Panthers.

#7 San Jose Sharks:

#22 Dan Boyle – D, stayed in South Florida for four seasons and played in 129 games for the Cats.

#18 Dominic Moore – C, NHL journeyman that spent one season in Florida.

#8 Los Angeles Kings

LA does not have any former Panthers on their active roster.

** indicates currently injured players

That makes for a total of 23 players that played for the Florida Panthers at one time during their careers. Some, like Roberto Luongo and David Booth, had a bigger impact on the Panthers history than others, but the fans in South Florida still appreciate the time those men gave to their favorite hockey team.

Do not forget to tune into game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals match-up between the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. Tonight’s game will be a good one, especially since the series in now tied 1-1 after Florida’s win on Sunday, their first in 15 year’s. Coverage begins at 7:00 PM EST on the NHL Network.

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Booth Traded To Vancouver In 4 Player Swap

Only five minutes before the puck was dropped against the New York Islanders it was announced that fan favorite David Booth was traded to the Vancouver Canucks. In addition to Booth Florida also sent Steven Reinprecht and a third round pick in 2013 to the Canucks in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Fans were rocked by the trade taking to Twitter to get any bit of information they could in hopes that it was just a rumor but the NHL confirmed it a few minutes later sending everyone into an uproar.

In return for Booth the Panthers get a more defensive reliable forward in Mikael Samuelsson, along with decent offensive numbers (18g 32a 50pts last season with Vancouver). Samuelsson also had a short stint with Florida in 03-04 (37GP) scoring 3g and 9pts. Sturm has scored 20+ goals 7 times in his 15 year career playing for San Jose, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington before signing with Vancouver in the off-season. After getting off to a slow start and not meeting expectations the Canucks had no problem including him in the deal which could end up being a steal for Florida if he returns to his past form. Comparable to Radek Dvorak he gives Florida a solid penalty killer with some speed, but the potential to put up higher numbers than Dvorak did while in Florida is there.

While fans will miss Booth they have to realize that overall this deal makes sense for both teams, Florida drops salary with getting rid of Reinprecht who was buried in the minors as well as defensive and offensive reliable forwards. Vancouver gets a good young player in Booth who could return to form if given time with Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the top line, or even with Ryan Kesler on line two. Booth became expendable when he didn’t meet expectations this past season and got off to a slow start this year going -36 in his past 88 games (he led the league last season with -30 +/- rating).

We all wish Booth well as he may get the push he needs to break out like we all thought he would in years past. He is all but assured a playoff opportunity moving to a weak Western division while playing on the powerhouse Canucks squad. If Samuelsson and Sturm don’t work out for Florida their contracts won’t be renewed (both scheduled to be UFA’s at end of season), and it will clear roster spots for Jonathan Huberdeau and Quinton Howden. Give this trade some time to set in, there is no need to break out the pitch forks and torches and storm the BankAtlantic Center. By February we’ll know exactly how the two teams made out in the deal and at worse we trade the players for more picks in this upcoming draft.

Fantasy Hockey Update

Sunday, October 16th marked the end of the first week in Fantasy Hockey, and what an exciting week it has been! Some surprises emerged whether it be from starting out strong or slow offensively, putting on a goaltending clinic, or letting just about every shot faced fly in. I’m here to point out some of the “stars” from the first week as well as some of the disappointments, and to provide a list of players to consider trading for at some point.

Trending Upward:

1. Phil Kessel TOR – (5g 3a 8pts +7): Kessel is my pick for the top player trending upward this past week. Strong goaltending caused Toronto to post a 3-0-0 record during the first week which usually results in confidence from forwards. If it keeps up look for Kessel to have a career season.

2. John Tavares NYI – (5g 3a 8pts): Tavares posted back to back 4 point nights last week along with his first hat trick of the season. The Islanders are starting out strong and again look for the forwards to feed off of this and raise the intensity of their play.

3. Joffrey Lupul TOR – (3g 2a 5pts): Lupul is benefiting from the strong play of Kessel as seen in his numbers. You can expect to see a career season from him if it keeps up. Keep an eye on him!

4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins EDM – (4g 0a 4pts): This years first overall pick has made the decision tough on the coaching staff on whether to send him back to juniors after the first 9 games. Strong play along with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle has boosted his value greatly this past week and I expect good things from him. How can you turn down a kid who scored a hat trick in just his third NHL game?

Notable players to watch this week: Kris Versteeg FLA – 3GP 1G 2A 3PT, Marc-Andre Bergeron TBL – 5GP 2G 3A 5PT, James Neal PIT – 6GP 5G 1A 6PT, Thomas Vanek BUF – 4GP 3G 4A 7PT, Al Montoya NYI – 2-1 1.35GAA .953S%, James Reimer Tor – 3-0 2.49GAA .917S%

Trending Downward:

1. Dwayne Roloson TBL – (3GP 1-1-1 5.09GAA .858S%): Roloson is off to a shaky start and it’s apparent in the Lightning’s record, look for Mathieu Garon to get more starts in an attempt to shake things up.

2. David Booth FLA – (3GP 0G 1A 1P -3): Booth is a surprise on this list as he was expected to be among Florida top forwards this season, but his slow start is proving otherwise.

3. Steven Stamkos TBL – (5GP 2G 1A 3PT): The leading goal scorer in the NHL the past two season is off to a slow start like the rest of his team, and unless something drastic is done to shake the team up he may not break out of the “slump” this week.

Players to look out for in the coming weeks:

Taylor Hall EDM – Top line is gaining momentum and he looks to benefit from it.

Anaheim’s Top Line – Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan all started out slow but look for all three of these players to heat up.

Rick Nash CBJ – With Jeff Carter out for possibly a few weeks look for Nash to step up and help his team turn around from one of it’s worst starts in history.

Sidney Crosby PIT – Nobody knows the timetable on Crosby’s return but he was cleared for contact this past week which only means he’s one step closer to that day, so watch out for his return and be ready to have him in your lineup!

Opening Night Game Photos

Hopefully last night’s win didn’t cause everyone to forget about the opening night W against the Lightning at the BankAtlantic Center. If it did we completely understand and will help our fellow Panthers fans remember by providing a slideshow of images from that night. Most of these shots were conducted during warm-ups before Florida donned their new jerseys. Either way these are some great shots taken by Sunshine State Hockey’s own Ana Lopez.

Enjoy:

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Panthers Training Camp Videos

Is everyone still recovering from last nights hockey double-header? Are some fans out there just now waking up from the coma that new PA announcer Jay Rokeach put us in? Either way we are happy to finally present our videos from Saturday’s Florida Panthers training camp at the Saveology.com Iceplex. We apologize that it took so long to upload these but all of us here at Sunshine State Hockey have been a busy bunch trying to get ready for the regular season.

To check out even more of our Florida Panthers coverage please visit SSH’s official YouTube channel by clicking here.

To see our photo gallery of Saturday’s training camp visit SSH’s official Facebook page by clicking here.