As a franchise, the Florida Panthers have been pretty good at hitting on its first round picks, but later in the draft has been a different story. In this article, we will single out the worst post-first round picks of each draft class from the years 2000 to 2004 - the first half of a decade of futility that saw exactly zero postseason appearances, along with the “honorable” mentions from each year.
The rules for this article are that it only includes players selected with the five picks immediately following a Cats selection and again, doesn’t include any first round whiffs as that would almost be too easy and is perhaps worthy of a different article. If there were more than one useful player taken in that five-pick span, I’ll list the one chosen closest to Florida’s pick.
Pick 115: Drafted D Chris Eade, 0 NHL Games
Pick 118: Los Angeles took D Lubomir Visnovsky, 833 NHL Games
Florida biggest post-first round misstep in the 2000 Draft in Calgary came in the fourth round when they selected Chris Eade from the North Bay Centennials of the OHL. After finishing his junior career, Eade wisely went to university in Canada before finishing his playing career with a short stint as a low-level minor-leaguer. Visnovsky, on the other, played 14 seasons in the NHL, producing 495 points in 883 career games split between the Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders.
Pick 58: Drafted D Vladimir Sapozhnikov, 0 NHL Games
Pick 60: Dallas took G Dan Ellis, 212 NHL Games
Pick 190: Drafted F Josh Olson, 5 NHL Games
Pick 194: New Jersey took D Deryk Engelland, 622 NHL Games
Pick 68: Drafted D Grant MacNeill, 3 NHL Games
Pick 71: Montreal took F Tomas Plekanec, 608 NHL Games
There were some other good options here as the Panthers did very poorly after the first round of this draft, but MacNeill takes the cake. MacNeill was a big defenseman from the Prince Albert Raiders who made a total of three scoreless appearances with the Cats during the 2003-04 campaign. Taken three picks later by the Canadiens, Plekanec would go on to rack up 233 goals and 608 points in 1,001 NHL games before he returned home to the Czech Republic in 2018. The Panthers could have also had goalie Craig Anderson, who was taken 73rd overall.
Pick 169: Drafted F Dustin Johner, 0 NHL Games
Pick 172: Philadelphia took D Dennis Seidenberg, 859 NHL Games
Pick 200: Drafted F Toni Koivisto, 0 NHL Games
Pick 202: Minnesota took F Derrick Boogaard, 277 NHL Games
Pick 231: Drafted F Kyle Bruce, 0 NHL Games
Pick 232: Anaheim took G Martin Gerber, 229 NHL Games
Pick 40: Drafted F Rob Globke, 0 NHL Games
Pick 43: Dallas took D Trevor Daley, 212 NHL Games
After going one for two high in the first round, Florida whiffed big-time in the second when it took Notre Dame forward Rob Globke. Globke compiled up some impressive NCAA numbers after being chosen, but he only managed one goal and one assist in 46 NHL games with the Panthers. He would soon wrap up his playing career in Europe. Daley is still active and has 1,015 NHL games and 302 points to his credit. The defenseman won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
Pick 232: Drafted D Peter Hafner, 0 NHL Games
Pick 234: Pittsburgh took F Maxim Talbot, 704 NHL Games
Pick 234: Drafted D Petr Kadlec, 0 NHL Games
Pick 239: Atlanta took D Tobias Enstrom, 719 NHL Games
The Cats mined a few useful NHLers, including Nathan Horton, from the top of this draft, but they could have done better, much better. throughout as there were lots of missed opportunities from start to finish in Nashville.
I went with Florida’s eighth-round pick as the most glaring of those post-first round opportunities. Kadlec was a 26-year-old, slight, left-shooting Czech defenseman who never left home. The Atlanta Thrashers (Zim!) stepped to the podium and took the correct European defenseman five picks later. Enstrom played in 719 NHL games for the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise and produced 308 points before returning to Sweden after the 2017-18 season. Whoops...
This was a tough choice as the earlier Tuma - Richardson gaffe was right up there.
Pick 56: Drafted F Stefan Meyer, 20 NHL Games
Pick 61: Dallas took F Maxim Lapierre, 614 NHL Games
Pick 162: Drafted D Martin Tuma, 0 NHL Games
Pick 163: Colorado took F Brad Richardson, 749 NHL Games
Pick 37: Drafted G David Shantz, 0 NHL Games
Pick 41: Chicago took F Bryan Bickell 395 NHL Games
The Panthers squandered a high second-round pick in Raleigh on OHL goaltender Shantz, who spent most of his pro career ponging back-and-forth between the AHL and ECHL and never played a single game in the NHL. Bickell produced 136 points in 395 games, mostly with the Blackhawks, where he was a member of three Stanley Cup-winning teams, before his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Pick 267: Drafted D Spencer Dillon, 0 NHL Games
Pick 234: Columbus took D Grant Clitsome, 205 NHL Games