Yesterday, we checked out former and current Panther defenseman Ed Jovanovski (319 games, 32 goals, 64 assists). Today, we'll pay homage to a highly touted Czech right winger, and the youngest member of Florida's Eastern Conference Champion squad.
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14. Radek Dvorak
Dvorak was a 6'2 right winger from Tabor, Czechoslovakia. After being used sparingly in parts of two seasons with Ceske Budejovice HC (27 games, eight goals, six assists), the Panthers took a shot at him with the 10th overall pick of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.
Dvorak made his NHL debut just four months later as an 18-year old rookie on the 1995-96 club. After being held without a goal through his first 11 contests (three assists), he would rack up six in a four game span (all victories) from November 2-7. The streak included consecutive two goal efforts, a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning and a 4-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. He ranked seventh on the team with 13 goals (including four game winners) on 126 shots, also pitching in with 14 helpers. His plus-5 rating tied for fourth on the team, and he only collected 20 minutes in the sin bin. He later pitched in a goal with three assists in 16 playoff matches.
In 1996-97, Dvorak scored 18 goals on 139 shots, good for third on the team. He also dished out 21 assists to rank fourth on the Panthers with 39 total points. He collected a minus-2 rating and 30 penalty minutes in 78 regular season contests. He started out the season slow, making one assist through his first nine games before putting together an eight game point streak (four goals, four assists) in mid-November. In a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on January 23rd, Dvorak made two goals and an assist. On March 13th, he made a season high three assists in a 5-4 Panthers victory over the Vancouver Canucks. After the season, he appeared in three playoff matches, failing to score a point.
1997-98 would see Dvorak appear in 64 contests, ultimately ranking fifth on the Panthers with 36 overall points. He scored 12 goals on 112 shots with a team fourth-most 24 assists, a minus-1 rating, and 33 penalty minutes. He led the Panthers with three short-handed goals. He had eight multi-point contests during the season, including a season high three (two goals, one assist) in a 6-2 victory over the New York Islanders on December 27th.
In 1998-99, Dvorak was one of three Panthers to appear in all 82 contests. He ranked third on the squad with 19 goals on 182 shots, pitching in 24 assists. He was third on the team with a plus-7 rating, collected only 33 penalty minutes, and led the team (by a wide margin) with four short-handed goals. He averaged 16:13 TOI per game on Florida's second line. He again had eight multiple point contests during the season, including two goals on March 26th as the Panthers shut down the Nashville Predators, 4-1.
In 1999-00, Dvorak played the first 35 games of his season with the Panthers. He had seven goals and 10 assists in 15:25 per game, only spending six minutes in the penalty box. He also had a plus-5 rating. On November 13th, he scored two goals with an assist in a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The very next game, on November 17th, he scored a goal and an assist as the Panthers defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 2-1. The Panthers traded him to the San Jose Sharks for Mike Vernon and a third round draft pick (Sean O'Connor) on December 30th. Before suiting up for the Sharks, the team traded him again later that day to the New York Rangers for Todd Harvey and a fourth round pick (Dimitri Patzold). That's one Panther traded for four guys on the same day, for those of you counting.
Dvorak played with the Rangers for parts of four seasons (256 games, 65 goals, 99 assists), the Edmonton Oilers (154 games, 27 goals, 59 assists) for parts of three, and the St. Louis Blues (82 games, 10 goals, 27 assists) in 2006-07. On July 1st, 2007, Dvorak returned to the Panthers as a free agent.
2007-08 would see Dvorak average 15:07 through 67 Panthers contests, scoring eight goals (on 146 shots) with nine assists. He had a minus-1 rating and only 16 penalty minutes. On April 4th, he collected a season high two points with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
2008-09, Dvorak regained some of his scoring touch with 15 goals (tied for sixth on the Panthers) on 136 shots, his most goals since 2003-04 with Edmonton. He also dished out 21 assists and finished with 42 penalty minutes and a neutral plus/minus rating. He led Florida with four shorthanded goals. He again had eight multiple point games on the season, including a goal and two assists, with a plus-4 rating, in an 8-4 drubbing of the Atlanta Thrashers on January 10th. Dvorak averaged 16:26 per game while appearing in a Panthers third most 81 games on the season.
2008-09: Dvorak Highlights (via FloridaPanthersVideo)
In 2009-10, Dvorak scored 14 goals on 140 shots with 18 assists in 76 Panthers games. He played an average of 17:26 TOI per game, collecting a minus-7 rating and only spending 20 minutes in the penalty box. As always, he led the Panthers in shorthanded goals, with three. On January 3rd, Dvorak enjoyed his first Panthers hat trick (and third overall) in a 6-2 home victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Dvorak hat-trick vs. Penguins - NHL Fox Sports Florida Feed (via NYYfan46)
Dvorak spent the first 53 games of the 2010-11 season as a member of the Panthers. He scored seven goals and 14 assists before getting traded to the Atlanta Thrashers with a fifth round pick (Sean Kuraly) for Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller on February 28th.
Dvorak finished the 2010-11 season with the Thrashers (13 games, one assist), playing 2011-12 with the Dallas Stars (73 games, four goals, 17 assists). He is currently an unrestricted free agent. In seven full (and two partial) seasons with the Panthers, Dvorak represented the Panthers as a solid role player. Never blessed with true first line talent, he nevertheless always left his best on the ice as a second (and sometimes third) line winger.
All-Time Statline: Nine seasons (second all-time), 613 games (second all-time), 113 goals (sixth all-time), 155 assists (seventh all-time), 268 points (seventh all-time), plus-8 rating, 216 PIM, 24.2 APS.
Thanks for reading today's article. Make sure to check back tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-channel, for the number 13 Panther. He's a left winger from Fort Saskatchewan who will be entering his 21st NHL season, soon, maybe.