LBC's All-Time Florida Panthers Roster Countdown: 50-49
Welcome to the humpday edition of the LBC exclusive All-Time Panthers Roster Countdown. Finally, today we get into the top 50. For a brief explanation on how this list was built, check it out here.
Yesterday, we took a look into the Panther careers of original Cat right winger Jody Hull (281 games, 56 goals, 44 assists), and current left winger Tomas Fleischmann (82 games, 27 goals, 34 assists). Today, we check out a right winger from Moscow and a goaltender from Illinois.
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50. Valeri Bure
Bure, a 5'10" right winger from Moscow, scored 27 goals and 22 assists in 53 games with the 1991-92 WHL Spokane Chiefs. He was picked in the second round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens with the 33rd overall pick. He spent two more seasons with the Chiefs, racking up 108 goals and 141 assists in 125 games.
1994-95 would see Bure split his season between the AHL Fredericton Canadiens (45 games, 23 goals, 25 assists), and Montreal (24 games, one goal, three assists). He was permanently promoted the following season, and spent a total of four seasons with the club (215 games, 46 goals, 64 assists, plus-8 rating, 73 PIM). On February 1, 1998, the Habs traded him with a fourth round pick (Shaun Sutter) for Jonas Hoglund and Zarley Zalapski.
Bure played 256 games over parts of the next four seasons with the Flames (93 goals, 99 assists, minus-28 rating, 100 PIM). He scored at least 26 goals in each of his three full seasons with the club including a career high 35 in 1999-00. After the 2000-01 season, the Flames traded him to the Panthers with Jason Wiemer for Rob Niedermayer and a second round pick (Andrei Medvedev).
In 2001-02, Bure's season was limited to only 31 games due to a knee injury he suffered against the Vancouver Canucks on October 16. He ended up with eight goals on 100 shots while playing 18:36 TOI, dishing out 10 assists, spending 12 minutes in the box and finishing with a minus-3 rating.
In 18:38 ATOI through 46 games, Bure scored five goals on 150 shots for the 2002-03 Panthers. He had six multipoint games, including three assists against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in a 4-4 tie on November 24. He finished the season with a minus-11 rating and 10 PIM. collecting a team fourth best 21 assists despite his low game count. Florida sent him to the St. Louis Blues with a fifth round draft choice (Nikita Nikitin) for Mike Van Ryn at the trade deadline. He had almost no impact as a member of St. Louis, appearing in only five games for the club (two assists). The Blues cut him after the season, where he was reclaimed by the Panthers.
2003-04 would see Bure appear in 55 games for Florida, ranking second on the club with 20 goals on 175 shots. He enjoyed 11 games in which he collected more than one point, including a two goal, one assist effort on November 7 in a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also ranked second on the club with 25 assists, 45 total points, and an even rating (Pavel Trnka led the team at plus-2). He averaged 19:13 TOI, second amongst Panther forwards. The Panthers traded him to the Dallas Stars on March 8 for Drew Bagnall and a second round pick (Enver Lisin).
After not playing anywhere when the 2004-05 NHL season was cancelled, Bure signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Kings prior to the 2005-06 season, but failed to make the club out of training camp, instead retiring. He is the younger brother of former teammate Hall-of-Famer Pavel Bure. He married Candace Cameron of Full House fame, and won the 2010 "Battle of the Blades," a figure skating reality show along with partner Ekaterina Gordeeva.
All-Time Statline: Three seasons, 132 games, 33 goals, 56 assists, 89 points, minus-14 rating, 42 PIM, 8.9 APS.
49. Craig Anderson
Anderson, a left-handed catching goaltender from Park Ridge, Illinois, was a 12-5-1 goaltender for the 1998-99 OHL Guelph Storm, his first season in Juniors. The Calgary Flames picked him in the third round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft with the 77th overall pick. Instead of signing with the Flames, he kept playing for the Storm, compiling a 42-36-11 record over the next two seasons, and allowing his rights with Calgary to expire. He reentered the draft pool for 2001, and was again selected in the third round, this time by the Chicago Blackhawks, 73rd overall.
In 2001-02, Anderson spent the entire season with the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals (9-13-4, .886, 2.95). The following season would see him again spend most of the season with Norfolk, posting greatly improved numbers (15-11-5, .923, 1.94). His elevated play earned him two separate callups to Chicago, where he went 0-3-2 through six games with the club, and a .856 save percentage with a GAA of 4.00.
In 2003-04, Anderson split his year between the Admirals (17-20-0, 2.11, .914) and the Blackhawks (6-14-0, 2.84, .905). He continued to work on his game during the lockout cancelled 2004-05 season with Norfolk (9-4-1, .929, 1.83). He managed to catch on with the Blackhawks out of training camp in 2005-06, playing the first half of the season in Chicago and posting a 2-8-1 record before getting waived by the team on January 19. He was picked off of the waiver wire three times over the next two weeks without appearing in any professional hockey games, first by the Boston Bruins, then by the St. Louis Blues, and finally back with the Blackhawks again. He finished the season in Chicago (6-12-4, .886, 3.32). After the season, Chicago traded him to the Panthers for a sixth round pick (Luke Witkowski).
In 2006-07, Anderson went 23-10-1 with the AHL Rochester Americans, (2.56 GAA, .919 sv%). He also appeared in five NHL games for the Panthers near the end of the NHL season (1-1-1, .931, 2.21). He allowed only five even strength goals in 217 minutes of ice time for Florida.
2007-08 would see Anderson backing up Tomas Vokoun for the Panthers. He went 0-4-1 through his first six games in relief before reeling off an 8-1 record including six straight wins. He posted consecutive shutout wins in March, with a 53-save, 1-0 win over the New York Islanders and a 40-save 1-0 overtime win over the Boston Bruins. He finished the season with an 8-6-1 record, a 2.25 GAA and a .935 save percentage.
In 2008-09, Anderson spent the first half of the season as Florida's number one goaltender, going 9-4-5 with three shutouts. He had a 24-save, 4-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 12, a 4-0, 37-save shutout of the New York Rangers on November 30, and a 2-0, 41-save shutout of the Edmonton Oilers on December 11. He was relegated to the number two slot as the new year began, finishing the season with a 15-7-5 record, a .924 save percentage and a 2.71 GAA. He is Florida's career leader (minimum 50 games played) with a .928 save percentage.
Anderson then spent one and a half seasons each with the Colorado Avalanche (51-40-10, seven shutouts, .911, 2.83) and the Ottawa Senators (44-27-7, five shutouts, .920, 2.65). He is starting the second season of a four year, $12,750,000 contract, keeping him with Ottawa through the 2014-15 season.
All-Time Statline: Three seasons, 53 games played, 24-14-7 record, five shutouts, 1,628 shots faced, 1,511 saves, 117 goals allowed, 2.52 GAA, .928 save percentage, 9.1 APS.