The Florida Panthers and the 1999 Expansion Draft

A look back at the second time the Cats’ roster was poached

With the expansion draft to stock the new Vegas Golden Knights quickly approaching, let’s take a look back at the second of the three previous occasions the Florida Panthers lost players to NHL newcomers.

The Panthers were born in 1993 and enjoyed a pretty successful five-season run before the league decided to add members 27-30 in a staggered fashion over a three-year span.

After getting off easy and losing prospect defenseman Chris Armstrong to Nashville Predators in 1998, the Cats, and the rest of the league except Nashville, had to expose players for the new Atlanta Thrashers to build the core of its first roster on June 25, 1999.

Like Nashville, Atlanta was required to select thirteen forwards, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders. The other two players taken could be of any position.

The Predators used those two picks on goalies to end up with five, while the Thrashers, who had already acquired Damian Rhodes from the Ottawa Senators on June 18, took an extra forward and an extra defenseman.

The existing clubs were able to protect either nine forwards, five defensemen and one goaltender or seven forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders. Teams that lost a goalie to the Predators (Anaheim, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Jersey and the New York Rangers) were exempt from losing one to the Thrashers.

Once again, the Cats elected to go with the 9-5-1 protection option.

The Panthers protected the following players:

Forwards: Pavel Bure, Radek Dvorak, Ryan Johnson, Viktor Kozlov, Bill Lindsay, Scott Mellanby, Rob Niedermayer, Chris Wells, Ray Whitney

Defensemen: Bret Hedican, Filip Kuba, Paul Laus, Robert Svehla, Mike Wilson

Goalie: Sean Burke

The Panthers exposed the following players:

Forwards: Chad Cabana, Dino Ciccarelli, Brian Farrell, Craig Ferguson, Johan Garpenlov, Alex Hicks, Kirk Muller, Konstantin Shafranov, Herberts Vasiljevs

Defensemen: Terry Carkner, Gord Murphy, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Jeff Ware

Goalies: Aaron MacDonald, Todd MacDonald, Kirk McLean

The Panthers lost: Johan Garpenlov

Atlanta general manager Don Waddell selected veteran forward Johan Garpenlov from the Panthers’ roster of exposed players.  After being acquired from the San Jose Sharks in March 1995, Garpenlov played an additional four seasons for the Cats.  The versatile Swede suited up in 265 regular season games for Florida over that span and posted 47 goals and 74 assists. Garpenlov played 73 games for the Thrashers during its inaugural season, totaling 2 goals and 14 assists, before returning home to Sweden to finish his career with a final turn for Djurgardens IF.

That’s wasn’t all that happened between the Panthers and Thrashers on that important day in June of ‘99.

Unhappy with their current goaltending tandem of Sean Burke and Kirk McLean, Florida, which had missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, worked out a deal prior to the expansion draft that saw Atlanta take Trevor Kidd from the Carolina Hurricanes and trade him to the Cats immediately after the draft for a package that included defensemen Gord Murphy and Daniel Tjarnqvist, forward Herberts Vasiljevs and a 6th round pick (originally Ottawa’s) in the 1999 Entry Draft.

The trade was one of eight that Atlanta was involved in that day. Two of the trades actually involved players going both ways, while the other six were compensation for the Thrashers staying away from certain players in the expansion draft.

Look for a bevy of these type of deals to happen after Vegas makes its selections in a few weeks.

The Thrashers selected:

Forwards: Peter Ferraro (Boston), Ed Ward (Calgary), Sylvain Cloutier (Chicago), Tomi Kallio (Colorado), Doug Brown (Detroit), Kelly Buchberger (Edmonton), Johan Garpenlov (Florida), Matt Johnson (Los Angeles), Phil Crowe (Ottawa), Jody Hull (Philadelphia), Mike Stapleton (Phoenix), Terry Yake (St. Louis), Alexei Yegorov (San Jose), Steve Staios (Vancouver)

Defensemen: Jamie Pushor (Anaheim), Darryl Shannon (Buffalo), Petr Buzek (Dallas), Brett Clark (Montreal), Kevin Dean (New Jersey), David Harlock (NY Islanders), Chris Tamer (NY Rangers), Maxim Galanov (Pittsburgh), Yannick Tremblay (Toronto), Mark Tinordi (Washington)

Goalies: Trevor Kidd (Carolina), Norm Maracle (Detroit), Corey Schwab (Tampa Bay)