LBC's All-Time Florida Panthers Roster Countdown: 56-55
Welcome back to another Friday edition of the All-Time Florida Panthers Countdown. If you need the story behind the story, click here.
Yesterday, we touched on former Florida players defenseman Ruslan Salei (147 games, nine goals, 46 assists), and original Panther and first ever team Captain center Brian Skrudland (256 games, 32 goals, 67 assists). Today, we'll check out a Quebeqois left winger and a current right winger from Alberta.
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56. Martin Gelinas
After scoring 63 goals and 68 assists in only 65 QMJHL contests with the Hull Olympiques, Gelinas, a 6' left winger, was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, seventh overall. Before making an NHL appearance, Gelinas was involved in one of the most shocking trades in NHL history as he was sent, along with Jimmy Carson and three first round draft picks (Jason Miller, Martin Rucinsky, Nick Stajduhar) and cash to the Edmonton Oilers for Wayne Gretzky, Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley. He opened the 1988-89 season with the Oilers, scoring a goal and two assists in six games before rejoining the Olympiques, scoring 38 goals and 39 assists in only 41 games.
Gelinas went on to score 60 goals and 60 assists with Edmonton over five seasons. He played 258 regular season games, finishing his Oilers career with 156 PIM and a plus-9 rating. He added six goals and 12 assists in 53 playoff games while with the team, helping the Oilers to the 1990 Stanley Cup Championship. After the 1992-93 season, the Oilers traded him to the Quebec Nordiques with a sixth round pick (Nicholas Checco) for Scott Pearson.
Gelinas opened 1993-94 with Quebec, playing 31 games (six goals, six assists, eight PIM, minus-2 rating) before being claimed on waivers by the Vancouver Canucks. He played in parts of five seasons with the team, playing 258 games (90 goals, 81 assists, plus-10 rating, 173 PIM). He pitched in six goals and six assists in 33 postseason contests. The Canucks traded him to the Carolina Hurricanes with Kirk McLean for Sean Burke, Geoff Sanderson and Enrico Ciccone on January 3, 1998.
Gelinas finished the season and each of the next four with the Canes, playing in a total of 348 regular season games (75 goals, 90 assists, minus-11 rating, 226 PIM). He also put up three goals and eight assists in 35 playoff games, including a 2002 Eastern Conference title. After the 2001-02 season, he signed a free agent contract to play with the Calgary Flames.
In two seasons with Calgary, Gelinas appeared in 157 regular season contests (38 goals, 49 assists, plus-7 rating, 121 PIM). He also scored eight goals and seven assists for the 2004 Western Conference Championship team. He signed on with Morges of the Swiss-B League for the 2004-05 campaign, scoring 38 goals and 23 assists in 41 games. Later in the season, he played one game in the Swiss-A League with Lugano, going scoreless before pitching in an assist in five playoff games with the club.
Prior to the NHL resuming play in 2005-06, Gelinas signed a two year, $1.9 million contract to play with the Panthers. The 35-year old averaged 15:59 per game, appearing in all 82 contests for Florida (the first time in his career in which he appeared in every game). He scored 17 goals on 186 shots with 24 assists, a team best plus-27 rating, and 80 PIM. He had nine multi-point efforts on the season, including a goal and two assists on March 6 in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.
In 2006-07, Gelinas continued to display his durability, again appearing in all 82 contests. He averaged 13:26 TOI, scoring 14 goals on 171 shots with a team fourth best 30 assists. He also finished up with a plus-7 rating and 36 PIM. Gelinas notched two or more points in 11 games, including a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 10.
Prior to the 2007-08 season, Gelinas signed on with the Nashville Predators, his seventh NHL team (not counting the Kings). He appeared in 57 games with the club (nine goals, 11 assists, plus-5 rating, 20 PIM). He is currently an assistant coach with Calgary.
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 164 games, 31 goals, 54 assists, 85 points, plus-34 rating (Panther's all-time leader), 116 PIM, 8.1 APS.
55. Kris Versteeg
Versteeg is a 5'10" right winger from Lethbridge, Alberta. He scored 24 goals and 43 assists over his first two WHL seasons, in 125 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Boston Bruins picked him up in the fifth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft with the 134th overall pick. He played in the WHL for two more seasons with the Hurricanes (68 games, 22 goals, 30 assists), the Kamloops Blazers (14 games, six goals, six assists), and the Red Deer Rebels (57 games, 10 goals, 26 assists). He made his pro debut late in the 2005-06 season with the AHL Providence Bruins (13 goals, two goals, four assists).
2006-07 would see Versteeg open the season with Providence (43 games, 22 goals, 27 assists). On February 3, he was traded by the Bruins to the Chicago Blackhawks with "future considerations" for Brandon Bochenski. He finished out the season with Chicago's AHL affilate, the Norfolk Admirals (27 goals, four goals, 19 assists).
Versteeg opened the 2007-08 season with the AHL Rockford IceHogs (56 games, 18 goals, 31 assists). He was called up to play with the Blackhawks on four occasions, totalling two goals and two assists in 13 NHL games.
Versteeg totalled 44 goals and 57 assists through his time in Chicago. He posted a plus-22 rating and 96 PIM in 170 regular season games. He also totalled 10 goals and 16 assists in 39 postseason contests while a member of the Blackhawks, helping the team to the 2010 Stanley Cup. Chicago traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs after the season with Bill Sweatt for Viktor Stahlberg, Chris Didomenico, and Phillippe Paradis.
2010-11 would see Versteeg score 14 goals and 21 assists in 53 games for the Leafs. He was part of a trade deadline deal to the Philadelphia Flyers for a first and a third round draft pick (Stuart Percy and Josh Leivo, respectively). He scored seven goals and four assists in 27 games for the Flyers.
The Flyers traded Versteeg to the Panthers on July 1, 2011 for a second and a third round pick. He opened the season on a tear, scoring 11 goals and 14 assists in his first 20 games, including two goals and two assists in a 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 17. He also scored three goals with an assist in a 5-2 road victory over the Winnipeg Jets on November 11 (see video). He absolutely owned the Jets, with seven goals and three assists in only five contests between the two teams. He posted 12 multi-point efforts over the course of the season, resulting in a career high 23 goals on 181 shots with 31 assists for a career high 54 points. His plus-4 rating ranked fourth on the team. He averaged 19:55 through 71 games, spending 49 minutes in the penalty box. He also added three goals and two assists through the Panthers seven game series loss to the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Kris Versteeeg hat trick 11/10/11 (via NHLVideo)
All-Time Statline: One season, 71 games, 23 goals, 31 assists, 54 points, plus-4 rating, 49 PIM, 8.4 APS.
Versteeg was on course for a real breakout season when he slowed down in December and came back to earth. It was revealed later that he had played the second half of the season with a cyst on his hip that required surgery after the conclusion of the playoffs. If he had kept up the pace set through the first 20 games of the season, he would have finished with a 40-goal, 100-point season. He recently signed a contract that will keep him with Florida through 2015-16 at $4.4 million per season.
Thank you for wasting a little time reading about your Panthers today. Vote in the poll, and check back on Monday as we get right back to it with a goaltender and a defenseman, both still on the Panthers.
Kris Versteeg set career highs with 23 goals and 54 points in 2011-12. Provided that his health stays good, what do you think he can do in 2012-13?
|He's going to regress - less than 20 goals||6|
|He's going to be solid - 21-25 goals||36|
|He's going to get better this season - 26-30 goals||51|
|Nobody understands that we've got a superstar here - 31+ goals||5|