Last Word on Hockey brings you our team of the decade series. We will dive into the best player at each position this decade for every organization. The biggest and the best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Florida Panthers decade lineup.
Florida Panthers Decade Team
While the Florida Panthers history is not the most exciting. Some of their greatest moments have taken place within this past decade. For example, the drafting of franchise faces players and Calder trophy-winning players, along with rebranding and jersey number retirement. Unfortunately, post-season success has not been there. The Panthers organization has only made the playoffs twice in this decade. In both the 2011-12 season and the 2015-16 season. Knocked out in the first round both times.
With that being said, the Panthers are not what you think of as Stanley Cup contenders come to mind. Yet, they still have plenty of notable players who have worn their sweaters over the past few years. Let’s look at the Florida Panthers decade team, shall we?
Left-Wing: Jonathan Huberdeau (2012-Present)
The third overall pick from 2011 has made a name for himself in Sunrise. Winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in the 2012-13 season and continuing to grow. Most recently named to NBC Sports Pro Hockey talk’s most underrated players, Jonathan Huberdeau does more than enough to deserve the title.
Not only is Huberdeau the franchise leader in points with 437, but he is also the franchise leader in assists with 289. Huberdeau has been able to do this while only posting one 30-goal season. Showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Over the past two-seasons, Huberdeau has been able to crack the top ten in points per game with at least 100 games played.
Centre: Aleksander Barkov (2013-Present)
At the Centre position, we have the Panther’s current captain Aleksander Barkov. The 2018-19 Lady Byng trophy winner, recording only 84 minutes in penalties throughout his career. In that same season, Barkov finished fifth in Selke votes and almost notched 100 total points.
Know for his great offensive skills, his tremendous hockey IQ and soft hands, Barkov sits at third all-time in franchise points for the Panthers with 407. Barkov is also second in assists with 252 and third all-time in goals with 155. Not to forget, Barkov was also the former “most underrated player” before his line-mate snagged the title from him.
Right-Wing: Jaromir Jagr (2014-2017)
By far, Jaromir Jagr has dressed in more lockerrooms than any player probably will. Creating an impact everywhere he went. When he was with the Panthers he did more inside of that locker room than most people realized. At the time, Barkov was in his first years as a pro. From the influence of Jagr, he has been able to instill a work ethic like no other into Aleksander Barkov. Many stories have gone through the NHL hallways of Jagr working out in the middle of the night after games, and now, Barkov has been seen as taking on that role.
Not only was Jagr able to help off the ice, but he also did plenty on the ice as well. On December 22nd, 2016, against the Boston Bruins. Jaromir Jagr passed Mark Messier for second-most points scored all-time with an assist on Barkovs goal. Jagr also won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2016 with the Panthers after their heartbreaking first-round loss to the New York Islanders.
Left Defenceman: Brian Campbell (2011-2016)
After winning the 2010 Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Brian Campbell came into Florida more motivated than ever. In his first season with the Panthers Campbell won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
The Panthers have only made the playoffs twice this decade. Once during the 2011-12 season and the other during the 2015-16 season. Both times, the silky smooth-skating defenceman was on the backend. During his tenure with Florida, Campbell also knew how to dish the puck. Playing in 376 games with the Cats, Brian Campbell recorded 147 assists. 70 of those assists came from the power-play, with the other 75 even strength. Just imagine if Campbell was at the top of Florida power-play nowadays.
Right Defenceman: Aaron Ekblad (2014-Present)
Also on the blue-line, the 2014-15 Calder Trophy winner, and current alternate captain Aaron Ekblad was in the midst of his most productive season yet before the COVID-19 suspension. Recording five goals and 36 assists for 41 points in 67 games. Ekblad sits second in points for the defence and 6th overall in points before the NHL Haitus.
In more ways than none, Ekblad has shown growth in all areas of his games. Every year you can see Aaron gaining more patience and poise with the puck. Not to mention a world of confidence when he has the puck. His stick-handling and puck movement look fluid as ever.
Goaltender: Roberto Luongo (2013-2019)
In the crease, we have the most notable Florida Panther of ALL time. Roberto Luongo holds the record for most wins as a Panther with 230, he also is second in NHL all-time wins. Claiming the rights to this spot without a doubt. Not only is Luongo the first player to have his number retired by the Franchise, but he is also the franchise leader in wins, saves, and shutouts.
He has impacted the Florida Panthers and their fans like no-one else. From his hilarious tweets to his heartfelt speech after the Stoneman Douglas tragedy, or even when he very nonchalantly donates some Panther’s goods and services to local charities and schools. Roberto Luongo goes to show that there are things bigger than hockey.
If there were a second-tea option, some of the names that pop-up would be Vincent Trocheck. Even though he was recently traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. Trocheck was a part of the young core that was supposed to bring the Cats to the promised land. Ninth-all-time for franchise points, Trochecks speed and grit will be greatly missed.
With that being said, we also have players like Nick Bjugstad, despite being somewhat injury-prone, a big part of the Florida Panthers. In his seven-year career with Florida, Bjugstad only played one full 82-game season. He was still able to finish 19th in the franchise points with 191.
Another player worth mentioning is defenceman Keith Yandle (2016-20). The savvy veteran has been another bright spot on the back-end as of late. The current quarterback on the first power-play, Yandle has 96 of his 204 points with the Panthers coming from the power-play.
That does it for the Florida Panthers decade team, stand tuned for the Wednesday’s decade team.
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