Purging of the Old Panthers: Radek Dvorak

BOSTON - APRIL 01: Radek Dvorak #14 of the Florida Panthers shoves Matt Hunwick #48 of the Boston Bruins into the boards on April 1, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Dale Tallon has completed an unprecedented string of player acquisitions this off-season, bringing in seven free agents for the NHL roster and trading for three more. Some additional prospect and minor-league signings brings the potential for over half of this season's Panthers roster to be composed of players new to the team. To accomplish this, Tallon first needed to engage in a sometimes painful process of breaking down the Panthers roster he inherited from former General Managers Randy Sexton and Jacques Martin. This series will look at the players the Panthers let go between Tallon's hire and the end of the 2010-2011 season.

Radek Dvorak was the third first-round draft pick made by the Panthers, following Rob Niedermayer in 1993 and Ed Jovanovski in 1994. Like those two players, he was part of the 1996 Panthers team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final, but was swept by the Avalanche. And like those two players, he was also traded around the time the Panthers stopped making the playoffs. 

In Dvorak's case, he was traded to the Sharks for Mike Vernon and a third round draft pick, and then traded by the Sharks to the Rangers. He would play for the Rangers for a few seasons before being traded to Edmonton and being a part of the Oilers' 2006 run to the Cup Finals, where they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes. He played for the Blues the following season before returning to the Panthers as a free agent, where it was widely believed he would play until he retired.

That changed on the 2011 trade deadline day. Dvorak was the first player traded that day, and the second overall in Dale Tallon's purge. The first, Bryan McCabe, had already been traded earlier in the week. Dvorak was traded along with a fifth-round pick to Atlanta for Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller. Rissmiller, a career AHL player excepting two seasons in San Jose, finished the year playing for the Rochester Americans, while Bergfors finished the season in Florida before he was let go at the end of the season. It seems insane for Tallon to have thrown away an NHL player with an expiring contract for two players he didn't intend on keeping, so it can probably be assumed that the organization wanted to give Bergfors a look but ultimately declined to qualify him at season's end. Dvorak was let go by the Atlanta/Winnipeg organization and signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars.

In Dvorak, the Panthers gave up a link to their glory days and a solid penalty killer.

Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Hits BkS PPG PPA SHG SHA GW SOG Pct
 1995-96 FLA 77 13 14 27 5 20 N/A N/A 0 1 0 0 4 126 .103
 1996-97 FLA 78 18 21 39 -2 30 N/A N/A 2 5 0 0 1 139 .130
 1997-98 FLA 64 12 24 36 -1 33 N/A N/A 2 2 3 2 0 112 .107
 1998-99 FLA 82 19 24 43 7 29 N/A N/A 0 3 4 0 0 182 .104
 1999-00 FLA 35 7 10 17 5 6 N/A N/A 0 1 0 1 1 67 .104
 1999-00 NYR 46 11 22 33 0 10 N/A N/A 2 8 1 2 0 90 .122
 2000-01 NYR 82 31 36 67 9 20 N/A N/A 5 8 2 2 3 230 .135
 2001-02 NYR 65 17 20 37 -20 14 N/A N/A 3 9 3 0 1 210 .081
 2002-03 NYR 63 6 21 27 -3 16 N/A N/A 2 3 0 2 0 134 .045
 2002-03 EDM 12 4 4 8 -3 14 N/A N/A 1 3 0 0 0 32 .125
 2003-04 EDM 78 15 35 50 18 26 N/A N/A 6 2 0 0 0 188 .080
 2005-06 EDM 64 8 20 28 -2 26 N/A N/A 2 0 0 1 2 131 .061
 2006-07 STL 82 10 27 37 -6 48 N/A N/A 1 8 1 0 1 139 .072
 2007-08 FLA 67 8 9 17 -1 16 N/A N/A 0 0 1 1 1 146 .055
 2008-09 FLA 81 15 21 36 0 42 N/A N/A 0 0 4 0 3 136 .110
 2009-10 FLA 76 14 18 32 -7 20 50 52 1 2 3 0 1 140 .100
 2010-11 FLA 53 7 14 21 2 20 46 28 0 0 1 0 3 89 .079
 2010-11 ATL 13 0 1 1 0 4 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 20 .000
 Career 1118 215 341 556 1 394 101 85 27 55 23 11 21 2311 .093

Dvorak has never been a big scorer. His best season was 2000-2001, when he scored 31 goals with the Rangers playing on a line with fellow countrymen Petr Nedved and Jan Hlavac. Besides that season, he has never scored even 20 goals. 

Nevertheless he has been a solid energy line player and, along with Gregory Campbell, one of the Panthers' two go-to penalty killing forwards. As mentioned in the Campbell article, the Panthers have some options for replacing Dvorak as a penalty killer, possibly with Sean Bergenheim or Scott Timmins. The Panthers have a possible upgrade for a third-line right wing in Evgeny Dadonov, who scored more goals in 36 games with the Panthers than Dvorak did in 66 with the Panthers and Thrashers. 

The last place he would be missed was as a last link back to the Cats' glory days, a position that has been taken up by Jovanovski, who signed a four-year deal with the Panthers on July 1. Still, as a fan it's hard to watch the team let a hard-working, long-time franchise player go. Dvorak was consistently one of the hardest working guys on the ice for the Panthers the last few years as well as one of the fastest skaters. The speed and character issues have been addressed in the off-season, but it seems like Dvorak would have gotten along well on the new-look Panthers even if it meant a demotion to the fourth line. Tallon had other plans and I've agreed with most of what he's done with the team so far, but I'll still miss seeing Radek Dvorak bat rats into the opposing team's goal at the end of every Panthers home win.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Litter Box Cats

You must be a member of Litter Box Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Litter Box Cats. You should read them.

Join Litter Box Cats

You must be a member of Litter Box Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Litter Box Cats. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker