Welcome back to your LBC All-Time Florida Panther Countdown. If you're the type of person who needs to know "Why, WHY?" about everything, click here for an explanation as to how this list was constructed.
Yesterday we looked back on the brief Panther careers of Greg Jacina, Craig Ferguson, Alexander Karpovtsev, Wade Belak, and Tanner Glass. Today, we look at two left wingers, a defenseman, and two centers. For the first time, today we'll see players still on the roster (guys who may have a shot to climb this list in subsequent editions).
If you'd like to take a spin through Panthers history, click on through.
269. Marco Sturm
Sturm was a 6' left winger with EV Landshut of the German League when selected in the first round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks with the 21st overall pick. He would join the Sharks as a fresh faced 19-year old for the 1997-98 season, scoring 10 goals and 20 assists as a rookie. In 553 games over seven and a half seasons with San Jose, Sturm totalled 128 goals and 145 assists with a plus-42 rating and 242 penalty minutes. He ranks seventh on the Sharks all-time goals scored list, eclipsing the 20-goal barrier in his last three full seasons with the team.
A quarter of the way through the 2005-06 season, Sturm (along with Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau) was traded to the Boston Bruins for Joe Thornton. In 302 games over parts of five seasons with the team, he scored 106 goals and 87 assists with a plus-24 rating and 156 penalty minutes. He scored over 20 goals on four occasions as a Bruin.
Sturm split the 2010-11 campaign between the Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals, totalling five goals and 11 assists in 35 games with a plus-6 rating and 23 penalty minutes. He signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1, 2011.
Six games into the 2011-12 season, Sturm, along with Mikael Samuelsson, was traded to the Panthers for David Booth, Stephen Reinprecht, and a 2013 third-round draft selection. Some considered it a salary dump for the Panthers, but most considered it a needed roster shakeup after the Cats lost consecutive 3-0 shutouts to the Capitals and Buffalo Sabres.
Sturm immediately joined the Panther lineup, scoring two goals and one assist in his first 27 games with the club before sustaining a possible concussion. The head injury kept him out of action for 14 games. After Sturm returned to the lineup on a February 1st 4-2 win over the Capitals, he was again shelved, this time for a lower body injury, for 13 more games. He played 14 more games through the end of the campaign, only breaking the seal of his scoresheet on one occasion, his lone two point game for Florida, with a goal and an assist in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on April 3rd. For the season, he totalled three goals and two assists with a minus-8 rating and 23 penalty minutes. In the seven game series with the New Jersey Devils, he earned a minus-3 rating and four penalty minutes in 81 minutes of ice time.
Sturm's future is still up in the air. He is currently an unrestricted free agent. With the numbers game looking the way they do, it's unlikely that Sturm gets another chance at a 20-goal campaign, at least not in Sunrise.
All-Time Statline: One season, 42 games, three goals, two assists, five points, minus-8, 23 PIM, APS: -0.1
268. Ryan Johnson
Johnson was a 6'1" center for the USHL Thunder Bay Flyers when picked up by Florida in the second round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, 36th overall. He would then play two seasons with the University of North Dakota, scoring eight goals and 39 assists over 59 games.
At the start of the 1996-97 season, Johnson joined the Carolina Monarchs, scoring 42 points on 18 goals and 24 assists over 79 AHL games. After Florida changed their AHL affiliation over the offseason, he opened the 1997-98 season with the Beast of New Haven, scoring 19 goals and 48 assists in 64 games. During the course of the season, he was twice called up to the Panthers, scoring two assists and logging a minus-4 rating in 10 NHL games.
1998-99 would see Johnson spend the balance of the season with New Haven, where he scored 27 points in 37 games. He did appear for the Panthers near the end of the season, scoring his first career goal in a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on April 7th. It was the only NHL game that he appeared in during the season.
Johnson opened the 1999-2000 season on the Panthers NHL roster. He had his first career two point game, when he logged two assists in a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on November 13th. On February 12th he had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 Florida victory over the Boston Bruins. He was traded along with Dwayne Hay for Mike Sillinger to the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 14th. In 66 games during the course of the season, he totalled four goals and 12 assists with a plus-5 rating and 14 penalty minutes.
Johnson played 94 games over two seasons with the Lightning, totaling seven goals and 16 assists. In the 2001 offseason, he was traded back to the Panthers for Vaclav Prospal. During the 2001-02 season, he was limited by injuries to only 29 games, scoring one goal and three assists, a minus-5 rating and 10 penalty minutes.
Johnson opened the 2002-03 season with the Panthers, in 58 games scoring two goals and five assists with a minus-13 rating and 38 penalty minutes. Florida waived him in February, where he was picked up by the St. Louis Blues. He played 289 games for the Blues over the next five seasons, scoring 19 goals and 30 assists with a minus-32 rating and 122 penalty minutes. Johnson later played 120 games over two seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, most recently spending 2010-11 as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
All-Time Statline: Five seasons, 164 games, eight goals, 22 assists, 30 points, -21 rating, 50 PIM, -0.1 APS
267. Bracken Kearns
Kearns is a 6' center who played four seasons with the University of Calgary. In 136 matches from 2001-02 through 2004-05. he scored 31 goals and 52 assists.
He spent most of 2005-06 with the ECHL Toledo Storm, scoring 33 goals and 36 assists in 71 games. 2006-07 saw him promoted to the AHL Milwaukee Admirals, where he scored 26 points in 79 games.
in 2007-08, Kearns split the season between the newly relocated Norfolk Admirals and the ECHL Reading Royals, scoring a combined 43 points in 70 games. He spent three more seasons in the AHL, playing for the Admirals, the Rockford IceHogs, and the San Antonio Rampage.
In 2011-12, Kearns played most of the season with the Rampage, scoring 22 goals and 30 assists in 69 games. He earned two callups to the Panthers during the course of the season, playing two games in October and three in December. In 46 shifts, he won 50% of his faceoffs and earned 10 penalty minutes from two five-minute fighting majors. See video:
Bracken Kearns vs Colin Fraser Dec 1, 2011 (via hockeyfightsdotcom)
266. Jack Skille
Skille is a 6'1" right winger from Madison, Wisconsin. He was skating with the US Team Developmental Program when drafted in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, seventh overall.
Skille started his freshman campaign at the University of Wisconsin in 2005-06, scoring 13 goals and eight assists in 41 games. After an injury plagued Sophomore campaign, Skille signed on with the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, scoring four goals and four assists in nine games at the end of the 2006-07 season.
Skille spent most of the next three seasons with the Rockford IceHogs, scoring 59 goals and 69 assists in 180 AHL games. During that time, he earned several call-ups to Chicago, scoring five goals and three assists over 30 games.
In 2010-11, Skille scored seven goals and 10 assists in his first 49 games of the season with the Blackhawks. Chicago traded him (and Hugh Jessiman) to the Panthers for Micheal Frolik and Alexander Salak on February 9th. He scored his first Panther goal on April 2nd in a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, finishing his Florida season with one goal, one assist, a minus-12 rating and four penalty minutes in 13 games.
Skille would open the 2011-12 season as part of the new look Panthers. He looked like one of the fastest, most aggressive Panthers on the ice, but his shots weren't sinking. It took him until his 32nd shot in the 14th game of the season to light the lamp, in the first period of a 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 8th. Skille was snakebitten with the injury bug, spending a sizable portion on the DL with a shoulder injury. He totalled four goals and six assists, a minus-9 rating and 28 penalty minutes over 46 games.
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 59 games, five goals, seven assists, 12 points, -21 rating, 32 PIM, -0.1 APS.
Jack Skille drives to net, scores clutch goal 3/4/12 (via NHLVideo)
265. Kyle Rossiter
Rossiter was a 6'3" defenseman from Edmonton with the WHL Spokane Chiefs when drafted by Florida in the second round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft with the 30th overall pick. He would stay with the Chiefs for two more seasons, his four year totals: 245 games, 21 goals, 58 assists, and 616 PIM.
He made his professional debut in 2000-01 with the Louiville Panthers, finishing his 78 games with a minus-19 rating and seven points. 2001-02 would see Rossiter spend most of the season with the AHL Utah Grizzlies, playing 74 games. In a late season callup to the Panthers, he played 37 shifts over two games, earning a minus-1 rating.
Rossiter played 67 games with the San Antonio Rampage in 2002-03, earning another look at the big league level. Over the course of two separate callups, he played three games with the Panthers, earning a minus-2 rating over 44 shifts.
Rossiter started the 2003-04 season with the Rampage, playing a total of 51 games with the club. He appeared in four more Florida games during that time, in 72 shifts earning a minus-1 rating and seven penalty minutes. He was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers on March 8th for Kamil Piros, scoring his first NHL point, an assist, on April 3rd in a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In 2004-05, Rossiter split the season between the AHL franchises Chicago and the Wilkes-Barre Penguins. He has since appeared in Finnish and Italian hockey leagues.
All-Time Statline: Three seasons, nine games, zero goals, zero assists, zero points, minus-4 rating, nine PIM, -0.1 APS.
Thanks for reading today's edition of the countdown, let us know what you think. Be sure to check back tomorrow, when we recap the Panthers career of five players you may (but probably not) have heard of.