SUNRISE FL - DECEMBER 27: Shawn Matthias #18 of the Florida Panthers attempts to pass the puck while being checked by Dennis Seidenberg #44 of the Boston Bruins on December 27 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Welcome back to the All-Time, Every Panther Countdown. If you haven't checked already, the standards and conditions for the countdown are outlined here.
In yesterday's article, we looked at original Panther LW Andrei Lomakin (107 games, 20 goals, 34 assists), D Lukas Krajicek (90 games, three goals, 20 assists), and current left winger Sean Bergenheim (62 games, 17 goals, six assists). Today, we will take a look at two defensemen, one Slovak and one German, as well as a Canadian center.
99. Branislav Mezei
Mezei was a 6'5" defenseman from Nitra, Slovakia. He was selected in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders with the 10th overall pick. In three formative seasons with the OHL Belleville Bulls, he made 15 goals and 44 assists in 171 contests.
2000-01 would see Mezei in his first professional action, split between the Islanders (42 games, one goals four assists) and the AHL Lowell Lock Monsters (20 goals, three assists). 2001-02 would be more of the same, as he saw action with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers (59 games, one goal, nine assists) and the Islanders (24 games, two assists). After the season, New York traded him to the Panthers for Jason Weimer.
In 2002-03, Mezei was sidelined with ankle and foot injuries for most of the season. In only 11 games, he scored a career high two goals on 10 shots while playing in 18:22 per game. 2003-04 would see him play in 45 games and rack up a career high seven assists. He did not score in his 26 shots on goal, racked up 80 PIM, and finished at minus-4.
Mezei spent his 2004-05 season between the Slovakian Dukla Trencin (ten games, one goal, one assist) and the Czech HC Ocelari Trinec (41 games, one goal, two assists. He played in the first 16 games of the 2005-06 campaign with the Panthers, registering one assist and a plus-3 rating with 37 PIM before suffering a knee injury on November 9. He would miss the remainder of the season.
Mezei vs Roy Feb 2, 2008 (via hockeyfightsdotcom)
In 2006-07, Mezei rejoined the Panthers for 45 games. In 15:58 ATOI, he dished out three assists, an even rating and 55 PIM. He would go on to play in a career high 57 games for Florida in 2007-08, scoring two goals on 38 shots in 14:28 ATOI. He also made two assists and spent 64 minutes in the box, finishing the year with a minus-13 rating.
Mezei has since appeared in the KHL, and Swedish and Czech leagues. He most recently completed the 2011-12 season with Poprad Lev in the KHL, playing 53 games and scoring three goals and 11 assists.
All-Time Statline: Five seasons, 174 games, four goals, 13 assists, 17 points, minus-11 rating, 246 PIM, 3.6 APS
Seidenberg was a 6'1" defenseman from Schwenningen, Germany. He was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft with the 172nd overall pick. After several seasons spent in German Leagues and with the German National Team, he would head stateside for the 2002-03 season.
Seidenberg began his NHL career with the Flyers on October 10, 2002, making one assist in a season opening 2-2 tie with the Edmonton Oilers. In parts of three seasons with Philadelphia, he totalled six goals and 14 assists in 92 games, finishing his time with an even rating and 26 PIM. The Flyers traded him to the Phoenix Coyotes with a fourth round pick for Petr Nedved and a fourth round pick on January 20, 2006.
As a Coyote, Seidenberg scored two goals and 11 assists in 66 games with 30 PIM and a minus-13 rating. He again was involved in a midseason trade on January 8, 2007, when the 'Yotes sent him to the Carolina Hurricanes for Kevyn Adams.
In three seasons with the Canes, Seidenberg played in 137 contests, scoring six goals with 45 assists, 57 PIM, and a minus 15 rating.
Seidenberg's Snipe (10/31/09) (via theultimategoalcom)
Seidenberg signed a free agent contract with the Panthers prior to the 2009-10 season. He played in each of Florida's first 62 games, on three occasions posting multi-point efforts. He scored two goals on 116 shots, made 21 assists, and spent 33 minutes in the box with a minus-3 rating. His ATOI of 22:55 was good for second on the team, behind fellow d-man Bryan McCabe. Florida shipped him off to the Boston Bruins on March 3 with Matt Bartkowski for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and a second round pick.
Seidenberg has been solid for the Bruins, playing in almost every game while with the club (178). He's scored 14 goals and 50 assists with 86 PIM and a plus-27 rating, helping the Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup.
All-Time Statline: One season, 62 games, two goals, 21 assists, 23 points, minus-3 rating, 33 PIM, 3.6 APS
97. Brett McLean
McLean was a 5'11" center from Comox, BC. He was a ninth round selection of the Dallas Stars, 242nd overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. In four WHL seasons with the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets (and a short time with the Brandon Wheat Kings), he put up 181 goals and 224 assists in 329 games.
McLean would then spend several seasons bouncing around the minor leagues with the AHL Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (seven games, three assists), the ECHL Johnstown Chiefs (eight games, four goals, seven assists), the AHL Saint John Flames (72 games, 15 goals, 23 assists), the IHL Clevelnad Lumberjacks (74 games, 20 goals, 24 assists), the Houston Aeros (78 games, 24 goals, 21 assists), and the AHL Norfolk Admirals (81 games, 26 goals, 41 assists).
In 2002-03, McLean appeared in two games with the Chicago Blackhawks. He would stay with the club for 76 games the following season. In 78 games, total, he made 11 goals and 20 assists with a minus-11 rating and 54 PIM. He spent the 2004-05 season in Sweden with the Redhawks (47 games, eight goals, seven assists).
In 2005-06, McLean returned to the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche (two seasons, 160 games, 24 goals, 51 assists, plus-1 rating, 87 PIM). He would join the Panthers after signing a free agent contract on UFA day, 2007.
McLean averaged 16:14 for the Panthers over 67 games, finishing sixth on the club with 14 goals on 140 shots. He also ranked fourth on the team with 23 assists. He registered multiple points on eight occasions, including a five point game (four assists, one goal) in an 8-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 8.
McLean returned to the fold in 2008-09, playing in 80 games with Florida. In 12:26 per game, he scored seven goals on 114 shots with 12 assists, a minus-12 rating and 29 PIM. He would head overseas after the season, playing with SC Bern in Switzerland (two seasons, 84 games, 23 goals, 37 assists).
Talbot VS Campbell and Crosby VS McLean - Jan 3rd 2009 (via Error1355)
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 147 games, 21 goals, 35 assists, 56 points, minus-17 rating, 63 PIM, 3.7 APS
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