Florida Panthers by the numbers: Number 9

Seven Cats have worn this digit - choose your favorite not named Weiss

The number nine has been worn by a total of seven Florida Panthers in franchise history, Its original holder was journeyman forward Jamie Leach and it is now sported by veteran center Brian Boyle. Let’s take a look at Florida’s seven of nines.

Jamie Leach

The son of 1970s goal-scorer Reggie Leach, Jamie was the first Panther to wear the number nine. Leach played two games for the Cats during the 1993-94 expansion season and scored a goal. The games and goal were his last in the NHL. Prior to joining the Panthers, Leach played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he got his name on the Stanley Cup in 1992 by appearing in 38 regular season games, and Hartford Whalers. He finished up his career with a four-year run with the Nottingham Panthers of the British Ice Hockey Superleague.

Radek Dvorak

The Panthers drafted Dvorak 10th overall in 1995 and the lanky 18-year-old Czech made an immediate impact, producing 13 goals and 27 points during his rookie season, as Florida reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Dvorak played in 16 postseason games and scored a goal and added three assists as the upstart Cats advanced all the way to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. This was the only season that Dvorak sporting the number nine for the Panthers, switching to 19 in 1996-97, so we’ll get more into his career at a later time.

Kirk Muller

The second overall pick of the New Jersey Devils, taken right after some kid named Mario Lemieux, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Muller played seven seasons for his original team before moving on to the Montreal Canadiens, where he a won a Stanley Cup with the storied franchise in 1993. The Panthers acquired Muller on March 18, 1997 from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Jason Podollan. Muller scored a goal and two assists in 10 regular season games after the trade and then put up the same in a five-game playoff loss to the New York Rangers. His two full regular seasons with the Cats were kind of a dud as he produced just 12 goals and 44 points in 152 games. After leaving Florida, Muller went on to play four seasons with the Dallas Stars, winning a second Stanley Cup in 2000.

Len Barrie

A two-time Panther, Barrie played a pair of games for the Cats in 1993-94 while donning the number 16. After stops in Pittsburgh, IHL Cleveland, San Antonio and Long Beach, Germany, and the Los Angeles Kings, Barrie returned to South Florida via waivers late in the 1999-2000 campaign. In 14 games to wrap the regular season, Barrie gave the Cats offense a jolt with four goals and six assists. That output didn’t carry over to the postseason, as he was held without a point in Florida’s disappointing four-game, opening round defeat to New Jersey. In 2000-01, his final season before retiring, Barrie totaled five goals and 23 points in 60 games for the Panthers. Barrie went on to become a part-owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning for a short time.

Igor Larionov

Legendary Russian center Igor Larionov signed with the Panthers in the summer of 2000 after a five-year stint that included back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998 with the Detroit Red Wings. The deal didn’t work out for either party as an unhappy Larionov produced 11 points and went -11  in 26 games before he was traded back to the Red Wings on December 28, for defenseman Yan Golubovsky. Larionov helped Detroit win another Cup in 2002 and retired in 2004 after playing a final season with the Devils. He produced 644 points in 921 NHL games and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.

Stephen Weiss

Taken fourth overall in 2001, Stephen Weiss is “the” number nine when it comes to the Florida Panthers. Weiss played over a decade with the club, appearing in a franchise-record 654 games, and putting up 145 goals, 249 assists and 394 points. His point total is the fourth-best in franchise history behind only Jonathan Huberdeau (437), Olli Jokinen (419) and Aleksander Barkov (407). Unfortunately for Weiss, the team around him wasn’t ever really that good. The Panthers only made the playoffs once during his lengthy tenure, where they fell in seven-games to New Jersey in 2011. Weiss left Florida to ink a lucrative five-year deal with the Red Wings on On July 5, 2013.  Hernia surgery derailed his first season with his new team and after a lackluster second, Detroit bought out the remainder of his contract, bringing his career to a sudden close.

Brian Boyle

Needing a little bit more experience down the middle, the Panthers signed well-traveled free agent pivot Brian Boyle after the current season started on October 21. In 39 games before the regular season was paused and then canceled, Boyle produced six goals and 15 points to along with 17 PIM and a -5 rating. A first round pick (26th overall) of the Kings in 2003, Boyle played for Los Angeles, the Rangers, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Devils and Nashville Predators before signing with Florida.

Who is your favorite non-Weiss number 9?

Jamie Leach0
Radek Dvorak38
Kirk Muller4
Len Barrie1
Igor Larionov2
Brian Boyle11