Reliving the Jacques Martin era, part 1: A look back at the 2006-07 Panthers
Florida's "Jacques Martin Era" - roughly spanning 2005 through mid-'10 - unofficially ended this summer with the hiring of Dale Tallon as general manager. Martin left after the 2008-09 season, but his assistant Randy Sexton took over and the results were largely the same.
The Martin era began following Mike Keenan's firing in the aftermath of the trade of goaltender Roberto Luongo to Vancouver and was no more successful than the Keenan period immediately preceeding it. Likewise, the Panthers are currently trying to avoid setting a new record for consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance. There are only four players left on the roster since the season following the Luongo trade: Stephen Weiss, David Booth, Rostislav Olesz and Bryan Allen. Booth was a rookie that year and Allen came to the Panthers as part of the Luongo trade. Here is a look at what happened to the members of that roster.
- 2 Branislav Mezei (D): Mezei was not retained by the Panthers when his contract expired in '08. He has since played for teams in the Finnish Elite League and the KHL and currently plays in the Czech League.
- 4 Jay Bouwmeester (D): Reportedly, Jay asked for a trade midway through the 2007-08 season. Inexplicably, Martin spent the next season and a half attempting to convince him to sign a new deal, and Bouwmeester was still on the roster with an expiring contract when Martin bolted to coach the Canadiens. Randy Sexton traded him for the rights to Jordan Leopold and a third-round draft pick (Josh Birkholz). Leopold did not immediately sign with the Panthers, opting to become an unrestricted free agent, though ultimately inking with the Panthers during free agency soon after. For the record, Leopold was eventually dealt to Pittsburgh at the 2010 trade deadline for a second-round pick (Connor Brickley).
- 5 Allen (D) is the only player from the Luongo trade remaining on the Panthers' roster.
- 7 Steve Montador (D): Montador left the Panthers when his contract expired in 2008 because of the uncertainty in the organization after the firing of Jacques Martin as coach. He signed with the Anaheim Ducks that summer and is currently playing in his second season with the Buffalo Sabres.
- 8 Joel Kwiatkowski (D): Kwiatkowski was traded at the deadline to the Penguins to re-acquire their fourth-round draft pick (Matt Rust). He is currently playing for Bern in the Swiss Elite League after signing a contract with the Atlanta Thrashers this summer while under contract with SKA St. Petersburgh of the KHL.
- 9 Weiss (F): After the Olli Jokinen trade, Weiss found himself promoted to the first line. Despite being the team leader in scoring both seasons since (14/47/61 and 28/32/60) and the goals leader as well last season, Weiss has taken a lot of flack from fans for not being a "true number one center."
- 10 Gary Roberts (F): Roberts was traded to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline for defenseman Noah Welch (D). Roberts retired in March 2009 after being waived by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Welch is currently playing for the AHL's Chicago Wolves.
- 11 Gregory Campbell (F): Campbell was sent to the Bruins along with Nathan Horton in summer 2010.
- 12 Jokinen (F): Captain Olli attempted to lead a revolt against coach/GM Martin and subsequently was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes following the 2007-08 season for defensemen Keith Ballard (traded to Vancouver this summer for Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner, and a draft pick) and Nick Boynton (currently with Chicago) and a second-round draft pick (later traded back to Phoenix).
- 13 Juraj Kolnik (F): After his contract expired at the end of the 2006-2007 season, Kolnik played for Geneve Servette of the Swiss League and currently plays for Moscow Dynamo of the KHL.
- 15 Jozef Stumpel (F): Stumpel was bought out following the 2007-2008 season and is currently playing in the KHL.
- 16 Horton (F): After requesting a trade from new GM Dale Tallon, Horts and Greg Campbell were dealt to Boston for Dennis Wideman (D), the Bruins' 2010 first-round draft pick (traded to Los Angeles for pick 19 (Nick Bjugstad) and 59 (traded for two late-round picks) and 2011 third-round pick.
- 18 Ville Peltonen (F): Peltonen was not re-signed following the 2008-09 season, spending one year in the KHL before returning to play in his native Finland.
- 20 Ed Belfour (G): Crazy Eddie, originally signed to back up goaltender Alex Auld but taking the starting role from him, was not retained at the end of the year and played one season in Sweden before retiring.
- 21 Alexei Semenov (D): Upset at being sent down to Rochester. Semenov left the AHL for Ufa Salavat Yulayev of the Russian Superleague. He has since played for the San Jose Sharks and Moscow Dynamo.
- 23 Martin Gelinas (F): After his contract expired at the end of the season, Gelinas played a season each with Nashville and Bern of the Swiss league before retiring. He is now Director of Player Development for the Nashville Predators.
- 24 Ruslan Salei (D): Salei was traded to the Colorado Avalanche at the 2008 trade deadline for Karlis Skrastins (now with Dallas) and a third-round draft pick (Adam Comrie). Salei now plays for Detroit.
- 25 Joe Nieuwendyk (F): "Nieuwy" retired midway through the season due to chronic back problems. He is now general manager of the Dallas Stars.
- 26 Mike Van Ryn (D): Van Ryn was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the 2008-2009 season for Bryan McCabe and a fourth-round draft pick (Sam Brittain). Van Ryn underwent knee surgery in 2009 and was forced to retire in 2010. He is an assistant coach with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL.
- 31 Craig Anderson (G): Called up to back up Belfour after Auld's injury, Anderson played only five games for the Panthers in the 2006-2007 season. Anderson spent two seasons backing up Tomas Vokoun, and is now in his second season as starting goaltender for the Colorado Avalanche.
- 35 Alex Auld (G): Auld, acquired in the Luongo trade, was let go after the season. He is currently backing up Carey Price in Montreal.
- 38 Janis Sprukts (F): Sprukts only ever played 14 games for the Panthers and is currently playing for Riga Dynamo of the KHL.
- 44 Todd Bertuzzi (F): Big Bert, acquired in the Luongo trade, only played seven games for the Panthers before being injured and missing most of the season. He was sent to Detroit at the '07 deadline for highly-regarded prospect Shawn Matthias. Bertuzzi played in Anaheim and Calgary before ending up back in Detroit.
- 46 Booth (F): After scoring 31 goals in 2008-2009, Booth signed a six-year $25.5 million contract. Unfortunately, he was sidelined for over half of last season after sustaining a concussion on a hit from Flyers captain Mike Richards. Booth looks to have regained his 2008-09 form based on his perfomance in the recently completed preseason schedule.
- 50 Drew Larman (F): Larman has yet to stick in an NHL lineup. He played most of his Florida career with Rochester and after signing with the Boston Bruins in 2009 has found himself playing in Providence.
- 51 Rob Globke (F): After three seasons primarily in Rochester, Globke has bounced around the European leagues. He is currently playing for the Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL.
- 54 Kamil Kreps (F): Following his 14 games in Florida in the 2006-2007 season, Kreps played most of the next three seasons in Florida before the team let him go this summer. He is currently playing with Karpat of the Finnish Elite League.
- 57 Anthony Stewart (F): After finally making the Panthers full-time in 2008, the Cats let him walk after a lackluster '09. He signed with the Atlanta Thrashers and played the next season for their AHL affiliate before making the NHL team this year.
- 77 Chris Gratton (F): Gratton was traded to Tampa Bay at the end of the 2006-2007 season for a second-round draft pick (goaltender Jacob Markstrom). He played parts of two seasons for Tampa and their AHL affiliate in Norfolk, plus six games for Columbus before retiring in 2009.
- 85 Olesz (F): After scoring 33 goals in 130 games for the team (.25 goals/.59 points per game), "Rusty" was inexplicably offered a six-year deal with a cap hit of $3.125 million. He has scored 18 goals in 115 games (.15 goals/,33 points per game) since signing the contract.
Coming up in part 2: A look at the players who passed through the Martin Era.