Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s One Hit Wonder series. Each day, we will take a look at a new team’s three biggest one-hit wonders. These are players that had one great season or playoff run but never did anything like that again. Join us every day for a new team! Today we take a look at the Florida Panthers One-Hit Wonders.
Florida Panthers Top Three One-Hit Wonders
In the seventh round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers selected Andrei Lomakin 138th overall. He was selected a little over halfway through the draft, as at that time there were 12 rounds and 264 picks. Lomakin surely was not the most sought out name in this draft. Instead, guys like Eric Lindros, Scott Niedermayer, Peter Forsberg, and Alex Kovalev stole the spotlight in this draft class.
One Hit Season
Moving forward, Lomakin would make his NHL debut during the 1991-92 season with the Flyers. Spending only two years in Philadelphia, Lomakin played decently well. In 108 games, Lomakin recorded 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points along with 60 minutes in penalties. It was not until the following season, 1993-94, that Lomakin stood out.
During the Panthers’ first season in the NHL, Lomakin took that next step in his development. He ended the season third on the team in points with 47 in 76 games, scoring 19 goals and 28 assists. He was starting to take a form that not many were expecting.
After the Wonder
With that being said, no one was expecting what happened during the following season 1994-95. Unfortunately, Lomakin had a significant decline in the following season. In his fourth NHL season, the 30-year old’s numbers dropped drastically. Despite only playing 31 games, Lomakin’s point production dropped by roughly 41 percent. In those 31 games, he scored one goal and six assists for seven points, making it the last season Lomakin was in the NHL. Between 1995 and 1997, Lomakin found himself spending time in both Switzerland and Germany playing professionally.
In 2004, Mike Santorelli was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the sixth round, 178th overall. Yet Santorelli would not make his NHL debut until four years after, where he played seven games with the Predators. Before making his entrance, Santorelli was quite the offensive weapon down in the minors. Through three years before coming to Florida, Santorelli was an AHL standout. Through 207 games played, he scored a total of 74 goals and 97 assists for 171 points. Deserving of the call-up, he only lasted 32 games with Nashville. The following year, Santorelli found his way to the Sunshine State to join the Florida Panthers.
One Hit Season
During the 2010-11 season, Northern Michigan alum Mike Santorelli had his most productive season ever with the Florida Panthers. It was the only full 82-game season he played. In that time, Santorelli had 41 points, 20 goals and 21 assists, leaving him second on the team in points that season. Stephen Weiss led the team with 49 points.
Not only was Santorelli producing on the score sheet, but he was also dominating in the face-off circle. With a 50.2 face-off win percentage through 82 games, he was able to win 518 face-offs, not to mention a 53 percent offensive zone starts as well. In his next best season, he would win a total of 215 face-offs. During this season, Santorelli was a fantastic centre that gave the Panthers some peace of mind.
After the Wonder
In only his third NHL season and first full time, Mike Santorelli was looking like a steal from the 2004 draft. It’s sad to say that the following seasons were not kind to Santorelli. The next year during the 2011-12 season, Mike played in 60 games scoring only 11 points, roughly a 37 percent drop in point production. Not only did he drop off in point production, but in the face-off circle as well. During that season Santorelli only won 176 face-offs and his face-off win percentage fell five percent to 45.2.
In 166 games with the Panthers, Santorelli scored a total of 55 points. 41 of those came during that 2010-11 season. Throughout the rest of his NHL career, Santorelli was never able to record above 33 total points in a season.
Continuing down the list of Florida Panthers one-hit wonders. We have Tomas Fleischmann, drafted in the second round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. His rights were traded in 2004, where he would spend most of his first six years in the NHL with the Washington Capitals. After some promising seasons in the nation’s capital, the Florida Panthers were able to bring in Fleischmann as a free agent for the 2011-12 season. And what an off-season pick-up he was.
One Hit Season
In his first year with the Panthers, Fleischmann was able to continue his offensive output. In his only full 82-game NHL season, Fleischmann led the team with 61 total points and 27 goals, 34 assists, and 26 penalty minutes. He was a key piece to the Panthers winning their first division title in history. Sadly, they were knocked out of the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Devils. Fleischmann was a big component of this Panthers’ success. With a 58.9 offensive zone start percentage, Tomas led the skaters that season in offensive zone starts who played at least 23 games.
After the Wonder
The season after that, 2012-13, Fleischmann experienced a significant decline in production. Playing in only 48 games, Fleischmann recorded 35 points in that time. Back in January of 2011 (before coming to Florida), Fleischmann discovered a blood clot in his lung that took him out for the season. In July of 2011, right before joining the Panthers, Fleischmann assured Panthers fans and media that “injuries are a part of hockey.” While it’s hard to compare this with a broken wrist, it is essentially the same; they can’t play.
Yet, maybe this was more serious than anyone expected. Missing 34 games the following season had a major effect on Fleischmann moving forward. In 2013-14, Tomas returned to play an 80-game season. But was only able to produce 28 points, dropping by almost 39 percent compared to his 2011-12 season. From there on out his number went down each season. After the 2012-13 season, Fleischmann was never able to score over 28 points.
Come back tomorrow to check out who we selected for the Los Angeles Kings‘ one-hit wonders.
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