Yesterday, we went over former Florida Panthers Swedish defenseman Andreas Lilja (135 games, seven goals, 12 assists), Hall-of-Fame center Joe Nieuwendyk (80 games, 31 goals, 33 assists), and original Panther defenseman Brian Benning (97 games, seven goals, 31 assists). Today, we focus on a Finnish left winger, a defenseman from Edmonton, and another defenseman from British Columbia.
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63. Ville Peltonen
Peltonen was a 5'10" winger from Helsinki, Finland with HIFK Helsinki when the San Jose Sharks picked him up with their third round pick of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft with the 58th overall pick. In four seasons with Helsinki he put up 49 goals and 62 assists in 140 regular season contests.
Peltonen jumped the pond for the 1995-96 season, splitting his time between the IHL Kansas City Blades (29 games, five goals, 13 assists) and the Sharks (31 games, two goals, 11 assists). 1996-97 would see him repeat the pattern, getting by in his NHL action with the Sharks (28 games, two goals, three assists) while excelling with the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades (40 games, 22 goals, 30 assists).
Peltonen returned to Sweden to play with the Vastra Frolunda HC for the 1997-98 season, scoring 22 goals and 29 assists in 45 games. San Jose sent his rights to the Nashville Predators for a fifth round pick (Josh Blackburn) prior to the 1998-99 NHL season. He played 14 games, scoring five goals and five assists before missing the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery on December 10.
1999-00 would see Peltonen spend 79 games with the Predators, scoring six goals and 22 assists. In 2000-01, he split the season between the IHL Milwaukee Admirals (53 games, 27 goals, 33 assists), and the Predators (23 games, three goals, one assist).
Peltonen joined Jokerit Helsinki for two seasons beginning in 2001-02 (79 games, 34 goals, 37 assists). He then spent three seasons with Lugano in the Swiss League (131 games, 75 goals, 101 assists) before signing a free agent contract with the Panthers prior to the 2006-07 season.
In Peltonen's first season with the Panthers, he posted seven multi-point efforts, including a two goal, two assist effort in an 8-5 win over the New York Islanders on March 17. He averaged 16:25 TOI through 72 Florida games, scoring a career high and team fifth best 17 goals on 145 shots with 20 assists, a plus-7 rating, and 28 PIM.
2007-08 would see Peltonen appear in 56 NHL games, missing 24 with a foot injury. He averaged 15:49 per game, lighting the lamp five times on 108 shots, also dishing out 15 helpers. He spent 20 minutes in the penalty box, finishing the season with a minus-2 rating.
In 2008-09, Peltonen played in 79 games for Florida, averaging 15:15 per game. He put up four muti-point efforts, including two goals in an 8-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on January 10. He took 121 shots on goal, potting 12 of them. He also assisted on 19 others, earning a plus-6 rating and 31 PIM. After the season, he signed on with the KHL Minsk Dynamo (51 games, six goals, 20 assists).
Starting in 2010-11, Peltonen has played the last two seasons with the team he started his professional career with, HIFK Helsinki. He has scored 52 goals and 61 assists in 103 contests.
All-Time Statline: Three seasons, 207 games, 34 goals, 54 assists, 88 points, plus-11 rating, 79 PIM, 6.9 APS.
62. Geoff Smith
Smith, a 6'3" native of Edmonton, was a defenseman selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the third round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, 63rd overall. He reported to the University of North Dakota, scoring four goals and 12 assists in 42 games. After nine games the following season, he joined the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers (32 games, four goals, 31 assists).
Smith reported to the Oilers in 1989-90, playing exclusively for the club for the next four and a half seasons. He scored 11 times with 56 assists, an even rating and 192 minutes in the box. He also appeared in 12 playoff matches, helping the Oilers to the 1990 Stanley Cup. Edmonton sent him to the Panthers on December 6, 1993 with a fourth round pick (David Nemirovsky) for a third round pick (Corey Neilson) and a sixth round pick (Chris Kibermanis)
Smith scored once on 44 shots in 56 Panthers game that first season. He tacked on five assists, a minus-3 rating, and 38 penalty minutes. 1994-95 would see him appear in 47 of Florida's 48 game strike-shortened schedule. He finished with two goals on 40 shots, added four assists, a minus-5 rating and 22 PIM.
In 1995-96, Smith was limited by injury to only 31 Panther's games. He took 34 shots on goal, lighting the lamp three times and dishing out seven helpers while accumulating a minus-4 rating and 20 penalty minutes on the eventual Eastern Conference Champions. He appeared in one playoff game with Florida, finishing with a minus-1 rating and two penalty minutes.
1996-97 would see Smith spend the majority of his season with the AHL Carolina Monarchs (27 games, three goals, four assists), making three appearances with the Panthers as a roster fill-in. After the season, he signed a free agent contract with the New York Rangers (19 games, one goal, one assist) to close out his NHL career. He is currently working as an assistant coach with his WHL team, the Kamloops Blazers.
All-Time Statline: Four seasons, 137 games, six goals, 19 assists, 25 points, minus-11 rating, 82 PIM, 7.0 APS.
61. Steve Montador
Montador, a 6' defenseman from Vancouver, played four OHL seasons with three different teams before signing a free agent conrtract with the Calgary Flames after the 1999-00 NHL season. He appeared with the North Bay Centennials (100 games, 12 goals, 44 assists), the Erie Otters (87 games, 12 goals, 50 assists), and the Peterborough Petes (64 games, 14 goals, 42 assists).
2000-01 would see Montador spend the season with the AHL Saint John Flames (58 games, one goal, six assists). He made his first NHL appearance the following season in Calgary, with a goal and two assists in 11 games. He played most of that season in Saint John (67 games, nine goals, 16 assists).
Eventually, Montador spent parts of four seasons with Calgary (94 games, four goals, five assists) )before joining the Panthers. The Flames traded him to Florida with Dustin Johner for Kristian Huselius on December 2, 2005.
In Montador's first half-season with the Cats, he scored one goal on 42 shots. He added five assists, a plus-4 rating, and 68 penalty minutes. 2006-07 would see him score one goal on 88 shots (a success rate of 1.1%!), adding eight assists, a plus-1 rating, and a team leading 119 PIM in 72 games played, averaging 13:08 of ice time per game.
Montador scored a career high eight goals on 96 shots through 73 games for Florida in 2007-08. He averaged 11:39 TOI per game, assisting on 15 goals with 73 PIM and a plus-1 rating. Florida let him go after the season, as the Anaheim Ducks signed him to a free agent contract for 2008-09.
Montador played for just a little while with the Ducks (65 games, four goals, 16 assists) before working his way down the alphabet, with the Boston Bruins (13 games, one assist), the Buffalo Sabres (151 games, 10 goals, 39 assists), and the Chicago Blackhawks (52 games, five goals, nine assists), where he is signed through the 2014-15 season.
All-Time Statline: Three seasons, 196 games, 10 goals, 28 assists, 38 points, plus-6 rating, 260 PIM, 7.1 APS.
Thank you for stopping by today, Make sure to check back tomorrow morning as we go to two players per day starting with number 60, a goaltender from Ontario, and number 59, a Czech right winger. And don't forget to tune in to our first ever Litter Box Chats, going live tomorrow at 9PM ET!