Greatest Florida Panthers

From The Beezer to Bobby Lu, a look at the Panthers' top scorers, greatest goalies, most skilled D-Men and toughest scrappers

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The Florida Panthers' history doesn't go back that far - the NHL has only been in South Florida since 1993 - but the players who have worn the Cats' sweater have left a lasting impression. These are our picks for the best of the best Panthers.nRoberto Luongo will not only go down as one of the greatest Panthers ever, but is also on the short list for top NHL goalies of all time. Luongo joined the Panthers in 2000 in a blockbuster trade with the Islanders and quickly became one of the top goaltenders in the league. He was traded to Vancouver by Mike Keenan in 2006,and made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Canucks in 2011, ultimately losing to Boston. Luongo rejoined the Panthers in 2014, and now holds most of the Panthers' team 'tender records.
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Before Luongo there was John Vanbiesbrouck, the beloved goalie who took the Cats to the 1996 NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Though the Panthers lost in four games to the Avalanche, The Beezer cemented his status as a South Florida fan favorite and one of the best-ever American-born goalies. He finished his career with 374 wins.
Scott Mellanby was mostly a role player before he he drafted by the Panthers in their first draft in 1993. In his eight years with the team, Mellanby would score 30 goals twice, but he became best known for sparking the Panther rat-tossing tradition when he killed a locker room rat with a stick. He retired after the '06-'07 season with 364 career goals.
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Big Ed Jovanovski never thrilled anyone with his offensive prowess, but the tough defenseman earned accolades as a rookie with the 1996 Panthers for his steady D and some punishing hits. The #1 pick by the Panthers in the 1994 draft, Jovo was the '96 rookie of the year runner-up. He was traded to Vancouver in 1999 but rejoined the Panthers in 2011.
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Rob Niedermayer was another Panthers top pick, drafted 5th in the '93 expansion draft. He spent seven years in Florida and was a key part of their '96 cup run, netting 26 goals in that season. He won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007.
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Ray Sheppard was an established star and 50-goal scorer when he came to the Panthers in 1995. His contributions to the '96 Cup run and a 29-goal season in 1996-1997 helps him make the list of best Panthers.
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Pavel Bure might be the best pure scorer to ever wear a Panthers sweater. Bure came over from the Canucks in a 1999 trade and immediately began to light the lamp. He scored 58 goals in the '99-'00 season, then topped that with 59 goals the next year, a team record. He retired following the '03 season.
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Admittedly, Peter Worrell might not be considered great, but the massive enforcer went toe-to-toe with the toughest the NHL had to offer while a member of the Panthers. The 6'7" Worrell holds the team record for most PIMs in a season at 354.
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Olli Jokinen spent the better part of five seasons as team captain, the longest in Panthers history, but the Finnish star's scoring touch is what sets him apart. The all-time club leader in points at 419, scoring 30+ goals four times. He was traded to Phoenix in 2008.
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After being chosen third overall in the 2003 draft, Nathan Horton lived up to the hype. The skilled center spent five years in South Florida, averaging over 25 goals a season before being traded to Boston after the 2010 season.
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Big Jay Bouwmeester is gone now, traded in the 2009 offseason to Calgary, but the highly-coveted defenseman was the backbone of the Cats' D since 2005. The steady defenseman played all 82 games in each of his four seasons with the Panthers.
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