Welcome back to another entry in the countdown. You may have noticed a lag in the publication of these articles, as I have relocated to Georgia for work. This lag will end now, you can again expect one article per weekday through completion. Thank you for your continued patience.
When I last managed to get a chapter online, we covered center Dave Gagner (114 games, 24 goals, 38 assists), goaltender Mike Vernon (18-13-2, .919, 2.47), and defenseman Brad Ference (167 games, four goals, 24 assists). In today's dispatch, we'll check out a center from Mississauga, a Czech right winger, and a defenseman from Ottawa.
75. Shawn Matthias
Matthias is a 6'4" center on Florida's current roster. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings with the 47th overall pick. The native of Missisauga, Ontario spent four OHL seasons with the Belleville Bulls, totalling 84 goals and 104 assists in 221 contests, including a 79 point effort in only 53 games in 2007-08. The Wings traded him to the Panthers with a second round pick for Todd Bertuzzi on February 27. He made his NHL debut with four games in Florida. He scored two goals in his second NHL game, a 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals.
2008-09 would see Matthias spend most of his season with the AHL Rochester Americans (61 games, 10 goals, 10 assists). He also played in 16 NHL contests for the Panthers, failing to score on 11 shots and making two assists in 9:10 ATOI.
In 2009-10, Matthias opened the season on Florida's NHL roster. He scored two goals in a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on January 26. He scored seven goals on 67 shots, also making nine assists in 10:48 ATOI, rounding out the season with a minus-3 rating. He also appeared in 27 games with Rochester, scoring six goals and seven assists.
Matthias totalled 51 games with the 2010-11 version of the Panthers, missing 23 games with a broken ankle. In 11:50 ATOI he scored six goals on 90 shots with 10 helpers and an even rating.
2011-12 would see Matthias achieve career highs in all offensive categories, including 49 PIM. He played in 13:49 per game over 79 appearances. He scored 10 goals on 133 shots with 14 assists and a minus-2 rating. Matthias is a lot faster than opposing teams are prepared to handle at times. He's a solid two way faceoff man, but his passing sometimes gets him into trouble. He is currently signed through the 2012-13 season at $900,000.
Matthias breakaway goal, 1/16/12 (via NHLVideo)
All-Time Statline: Five seasons, 205 games, 25 goals, 35 assists, 60 points, minus-10 rating, 79 PIM, 5.4 APS.
74. Richard Zednik
Zednik is a 6' left winger from Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. He was picked up by the Washington Capitals in the 10th round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft with the 249th overall pick. He played two WHL seasons with the Portland Winter Hawks, scoring 79 goals and 88 assists in 126 games. After the 1995-96 WHL season, he appeared in one regular season game each with the AHL Portland Pirates and the NHL Caps. He would then appear in 21 playoff games with the Pirates, scoring four goals and five assists.
1996-97 was largely spent with the AHL Pirates, as Zednik lit the lamp 15 times with 20 helpers in 56 games. He also appeared in 11 games with the Caps, scoring two goals and three assists. It was the last season in which he appeared in minor league hockey.
Zednik eventually spent parts of six seasons with the Caps (257 games, 63 goals, 53 assists, minus-9, 197 PIM). Washington traded him to the Montreal Canadiens on March 13, 2001 with Jan Bulis and a first round pick (Alexander Perezhogin) for Trevor Linden, Dainius Zubrus, and a second round pick (traded away).
As a member of the Habs, Zednik finished out the 2000-01 season and the next four NHL seasons with the team (322 games, 98 goals, 85 assists), including a career high 31 markers in the 2002-03 campaign. He spent the 2004-05 season with HKm Zvolen in the Slovakian League (36 games, 15 goals, 19 assists). The Habs traded him back to the Caps after the 2005-06 NHL season for a third round pick (Olivier Fortier).
After totalling six goals and 12 assists in 32 contests with the Caps through his second tour with the team, he was traded to the New York Islanders on February 26, 2007 for a second round pick (Theo Ruth). He scored one goal and two assists in 10 games with the team.
On free agent day, 2007, Zednik signed on with the Florida Panthers, his last NHL stop (to date). He scored a hat trick on February 5 in a 8-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, also collecting an assist on the night. He would rack up a team fourth best 15 goals on 140 shots while averaging 17:35 TOI per game over the course of the season. He also made 11 assists and finished with a minus-5 rating and 43 penalty minutes.
Zednik would again rank fourth on the Cats in goals scored in 2008-09, scoring 17 on 153 shots in 15:35 of ice time per contest. He made 16 assists in 70 games, enjoying multi-point efforts on six occasions. He finished the year at plus-2 with 46 PIM as Florida barely missed the playoffs.
Zednik went on to the KHL Yaroslavl Lokomotiv in 2009-10 (37 games, six goals, 12 assists), joining AIK in the Swedish Elite League in 2010-11 (18 games, two goals, three assists).
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 124 games, 32 goals, 27 assists, 59 points, minus-3 rating, 89 PIM, 5.7 APS.
73. Dan Boyle
Boyle was a 5'11" defenseman when, undrafted out of Ottawa, he decided to attend college at Miami University, Ohio. In four seasons of collegiate hockey, he totalled 40 goals, 107 assists in 148 contests, graduating with the Class of 1998. He made his pro debut with eight games at the end of the 1997-98 IHL season, registering three assists nd 20 penalty minutes with the Cincinnati Cyclones.
1998-99 would see Boyle play the first four months of the season with the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades, scoring eight goals and 34 assists in 53 games. He made his first NHL appearance with Florida in February, spending the last 22 games of the campaign with the club. In just his third game with the team he scored a goal and two assists in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. He totalled three goals on 31 shots along with five assists in 18:50 ATOI.
In 1999-00, Boyle spent most of his season with the AHL Louisville Panthers, scoring 14 goals and 38 assists in 58 games. He made a stop in Florida from January through March, starting 13 games with the team. He made three assists in 16:57 per contest, coming up empty on nine shots on goal.
Boyle opened the 2000-01 season on the Panthers roster, earning an assist in a season opening overtime 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Despite a minus-14 rating on the campaign, he set new career highs (since eclipsed) of four goals on 83 shots, 18 assists, and 69 games. He averaged 16:56 TOI through the season.
2001-02 would see Boyle open the season with 25 games in South Florida. He scored three goals on 31 shots, collected three assists and finished with a minus-1 rating in 15:40 ATOI. The Panthers traded him to the Tampa Bay Lighning on January 7 for a fifth round pick (Martin Tuma).
Boyle played with the Bolts for six seasons, helping the team to the 2004 Stanley Cup. He totalled 66 goals and 187 assists in 394 games. He has spent the last four seasons with the San Jose Sharks (310 games, 49 goals, 164 assists). He has at least 38 assists in seven of the nine full seasons since leaving the Panthers.
All-Time Statline: Four seasons, 129 games, 10 goals, 29 assists, 39 points, minus-17 rating, 50 PIM, 5.8 APS.
Thank you for joining us for another look into the Panthers' past. Check back tomorrow for a 6'5" defenseman from Simcoe, Ontario, a Hall of Fame goaltender from Carman, Manitoba, and a left winger from Montreal.