The Florida Panthers will host this year’s NHL All-Star weekend for the second time in franchise history with their first time being exactly 20 years ago in 2003. Even though their history is short, they have some notable faces that represented them as All-Star selections. In total, they’ve had 24 Panthers sent to play in the game.
Bob Kudelski (1994)
One of the first two selections in franchise history, Kudelski was selected in the team’s inaugural 1993-94 season. He was acquired through a trade midway through the season with the Ottawa Senators. That season, he played a record 86 NHL games, 44 with the Cats and 42 with the Sens, tallying 70 points (40 goals, 30 assists).
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Kudelski’s time with the Panthers lasted three seasons. Through 83 games, he scored 20 goals and assisted on 19 others.
John Vanbiesbrouck (1994, 1996, 1997)
The other one of the first two selections in franchise history, “Beezer” represented the Cats in three straight years. As of now, he is the only Panther to do it in three consecutive games. In the 1993-94 season, he had 21 wins with a 2.53 goals-against average (GAA), a .924 save percentage (SV%) and a shutout. In the 1995-96 season, he had a record of 26-20-7 with a 2.68 GAA, a .904 SV% and two shutouts. In the postseason that year, he was a brick wall with 12 wins, a 2.25 GAA, a .932 SV% and a shutout. In the 1996-97 season, he finished with a record of 27-19-10 with a GAA of 2.29, a SV% of .919 and two shutouts. That is tied for the fifth most wins in franchise history. In the playoffs, he managed one playoff shutout win and finished with a GAA of 2.38 and a .929 SV%.
Arguably the greatest goaltender in Panthers history, and the man who coined the term “Rat Trick”, Vanbiesbrouck has his spot in the Panthers record books with the second most wins with 106, the second most games played with 268, the third most shutouts with 13 and the third highest SV% at .912.
Scott Mellanby (1996)
One of the biggest pieces of the team’s Cup run in 1996, Mellanby was one of the two selected to represent the Panthers at the All-Star Game in 1996. In the 1995-96 regular season, he had 70 points (32 goals, 38 assists) through 79 games. In the playoffs that year, he had three goals and six assists through 22 games.
One of the original Panther forwards, Mellanby spent eight years with the team, tallying 354 points (157 goals, 197 assists). That point total is fifth all-time in Panthers history and his assist total is fourth all-time. In 1997, he was named the captain of the team and remained so until he was dealt midway through the 2000-01 season to the St. Louis Blues.
Doug MacLean (1996, 1997)
The head coach of the team during the illustrious “Year of the Rat”, MacLean was selected to back-to-back All-Star Games, becoming the second member of the franchise to do it.
MacLean coached the Panthers from the 1995-96 season to midway through the 1997-98 season. In that time span, he tallied 83 regular season wins, along with 12 playoff wins. That playoff win total still holds as the most by a coach in Panthers history.
Robert Svehla (1997)
Svehla was selected to his only career All-Star Game in 1997. In the 1996-97 season, he had 45 points (13 goals, 32 assists) with a plus-2 rating through a full 82-game season.
One of the key pieces of the 1996 Eastern Conference Champion team, Svehla spent eight seasons with the Cats, tallying 229 assists and scoring 61 goals. That assist total makes for fifth all-time in franchise history.
Viktor Kozlov (1999, 2000)
Kozlov was selected in back-to-back All-Star Games. However, he did not play in the 1999 game due to a shoulder injury. In the 1998-99 season, he tallied 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists). In the 1999-00 season, he had 17 goals and 53 assists. His assist total stands as the fourth-most in a single season for the Panthers.
Through seven seasons with the club, Kozlov amassed 291 points (101 goals, 190 assists) over the course of 414 games.
Ray Whitney (2000)
“The Wizard” was selected to his first career All-Star Game with the Panthers in 2000. That season, he had 71 points (29 goals, 42 assists) through 81 games.
Through three and a half seasons with the Cats, Whitney had 227 points (97 goals, 130 assists) through 273 total games. He is one of 95 players to have over 1,000 points in his NHL career.
Pavel Bure (2000, 2001)
The Russian Rocket was selected to back-to-back All-Star Games during his short stay in Broward County. In the 1999-00 season, he had 58 goals, which was the second most in a single season in Panthers history. In the 2000-01 season, he had 59 which still stands as the most all-time. In both those seasons, he was awarded the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, which is still the only two times a Panther player has won the award.
Over the course of three and a half seasons with the Cats, the Hall of Famer had 152 goals and 99 assists and was one of two captains for the 2001-02 season. His impact was huge to the franchise.
Sandis Ozonlish (2002, 2003)
Ozonlish was selected to back-to-back All-Star Games in his only two seasons with Florida in 2002 and 2003. In the 2001-02 season, he had 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) through only 37 games as he was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes. In the 2002-03 season, he piled up 26 points (7 goals, 19 assists) through 51 games.
Ozonlish spent only 83 games with the organization over the course of two seasons as he was traded in both seasons.
Olli Jokinen (2003)
The former all-time point leader in franchise history was selected to the only All-Star Game of his career in 2003. That season, Jokinen had 65 points (36 goals, 29 assists) through a full 82 games.
Through his time as a Panther, he had 188 goals and 231 assists and was the captain for three seasons. Additionally, he is second all-time in game-winning goals with 36, third all-time in goals in a single season with 39 and fifth all-time in points in a single season with 91. He’s easily on the Mount Rushmore of Panthers players.
Roberto Luongo (2004, 2015, 2016)
The latest Panthers Hall of Famer was selected to three different All-Star Games, which is tied with Vanbiesbrouck for the most in their history. In the 2003-04 season, he played in 72 games, which is the second most in franchise history in a single season for a goalie. That season, he had a GAA of 2.43 and a SV% of .931. That SV% still stands as the best in a single season in Panthers’ history. In addition, he had seven shutouts that year, which is also the best in their history in a single season. In the 2014-15 season, he had a GAA of 2.35 and a SV% of .921 with two shutouts. In the 2015-16 season, he once again finished with a GAA of 2.35 and a SV% of .922 with four shutouts.
Arguably the greatest Panther of all time, “Lu” has more wins than any other Panthers goalie with 230 wins. In addition, he is the all-time leader in shutouts with 38 and games played with 572. Furthermore, he is fourth in NHL history in goalie wins with 489 and second in games played with 1,044. He’s easily the face of hockey in South Florida.
Jay Bouwmeester (2007, 2009)
Bouwmeester was selected to two All-Star Games as a Panther. In the 2009 game, he scored the game-tying goal that would ultimately lead the Eastern Conference to win the game in a shootout by a score of 12-11.
In 2006-07, Bouwmeester had 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists) through 82 games and had a plus-23 rating. In the 2008-09 season, he had 15 goals, which is still his career-high.
He finished his time with the team that drafted him third overall in 2002 with 203 points (53 goals, 150 assists) through six seasons.
Tomas Vokoun (2008)
Vokoun played in his second career All-Star Game with Florida in 2008, four years after his first appearance with the Nashville Predators. That year, he had a GAA of 2.68 and a SV% of .919 with 30 wins and four shutouts.
Through four seasons with South Florida, he played in 248 games, which is the third most all-time. Even though his time was short, he made his mark in the Panthers’ record books as he’s second among all Panthers in shutouts with 23 and first in overall SV% with .923. He still works for the hockey community in South Florida to this day as he works as a coach for the South Florida Hockey Academy.
Brian Campbell (2012)
In 2012, “Soup” was the only selection for the Panthers for the All-Star Game. That season, he won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which was the first time a defenseman won the award since Detroit Red Wings defenseman Red Kelly in the 1953-54 season.
Campbell spent five seasons with the team, scoring 28 goals and collecting 147 assists. He was also featured in 13 playoff games for the Cats, tallying six points (a goal and five assists).
Aaron Ekblad (2015, 2016)
The 2015 Calder Trophy winner was selected to the All-Star Game in his rookie season and in his sophomore season. In the 2014-15 season, he had 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) through 81 games and finished with a plus-12 rating. In the 2015-16 season, he finished with 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) through 78 games and had a plus-18 rating.
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Since being drafted by Florida, Ekblad is fifth all-time in games played for the franchise. Throughout his career, he’s amassed 311 points (104 goals, 207 assists) and has an all-time plus/minus rating of plus-58. That goal and point total are both the most by a defenseman in Panthers history.
Gerard Gallant (2016)
As he was the head coach of the leading Atlantic Division Cats in the 2015-16 season, Gallant was selected to represent the Atlantic at the All-Star Game. That season, he led the team to their first 100-point regular season and their first playoff appearance since winning the Southeast Division in 2012.
He coached the Panthers for two and a half seasons, starting from the 2014-15 season to the 2016-17 season. During his time in Florida, he piled up 96 wins through 186 games, along with two playoff victories.
Jaromir Jagr (2016)
Despite massive pleas to not be voted in, Czech legend Jaromir Jagr was selected by the fans as the captain of the Atlantic Division in the 2016 All-Star Game. That year, he had 27 goals, which matched his rookie year goal total in the 1990-91 season.
The former Penguin spent two and a half seasons with the club from the end of the 2014-15 season to the 2016-17 season, tallying 130 points (49 goals, 81 assists). In addition, he had two assists in six playoff games in 2016.
Vincent Trocheck (2017)
Trocheck was selected for the All-Star festivities with the Panthers in 2017. That year, he had 54 points (23 goals, 31 assists) through a full 82-game season.
Drafted in the 3rd round back in 2011, “Troch” spent nine seasons with the Panthers organization in some shape or capacity before being dealt to the Hurricanes at the deadline of the 2019-20 season. Through his time there, he collected 282 points (111 goals, 171 assists).
Aleksander Barkov (2018, 2023)
The current captain of the Cats in Barkov was selected to two All-Star Games in 2018 and in 2023. In the 2018-19 season, he set the record for most points in a season by a Panther at that time with 96 (35 goals, 61 assists).
Since being drafted in 2013, Barkov has soared up to the top of the list of some notable Panther records that could make a great argument in the conversation of the best player in franchise history. As of now, he leads the Panthers all-time in goals, game-winning goals, and power play goals. He is also fourth all-time in games played, second in points and assists, and third in shorthanded goals.
Keith Yandle (2019)
Yandle was selected to his only All-Star Game with the Panthers in 2019. That season, he had nine goals and 53 assists through 82 games.
After being acquired in a trade, “Yands” spent five seasons with the organization. Through those seasons, he tallied 231 points (20 goals, 211 assists). In seven postseason appearances with the team, he tallied five assists.
Jonathan Huberdeau (2020, 2022)
Selected in back-to-back All-Star Games, “Huby Dooby Doo” was easily one of the faces of the franchise during his time in South Florida. In the 2019-20 season, he had 78 points (23 goals, 55 assists) through 69 games before the season was halted due to COVID-19. In the 2021-22 season, he set a new record for most points in a single season in Panthers history with 115 points (31 goals, 84 assists). That also set a single-season franchise record for most assists and the most by a left winger in NHL history.
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Drafted third overall in 2011, Huberdeau put his name on South Florida hockey by playing in more games than any other Panthers player with 671 games under his belt. In addition, he is the all-time Florida leader in assists with 415 and points with 613.
Andrew Brunette (2022)
Due to the fact the team was first in the division at the time, the interim head coach in Brunette was the coach for the Atlantic Division All-Stars in the 2022 All-Star Game.
“Bruno” came into the fray by replacing Joel Quenneville in Nov. 2021 after he resigned due to the Kyle Beach incident in 2021. He helped win the team a Presidents’ Trophy with a record of 51-18-6 with 108 points and led them to their first playoff series win since 1996 against the Washington Capitals.
Matthew Tkachuk (2023)
The most recent addition to the list, Tkachuk was selected to represent the host team in Florida after leading the team in points with 64 and assists with 39 through the All-Star Break. Additionally, he is second on the team in goals.
Acquired through a blockbuster trade in the offseason of 2022, Tkachuk has made his presence known in South Florida. He ranks first in points among players who have switched teams this season, and the Panthers are extremely grateful to have him on board for the next eight seasons.
Who’s Next to Represent the Cats?
The young core continues to blossom with players like Anton Lundell and Spencer Knight, who are making strides, while notable veterans like Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour have had a major impact on the club for many seasons. Furthermore, the stars like Barkov and Tkachuk still have tons of years left on their contracts and talent still left in the tank.
The future is bright in South Florida, and there will be many more All-Star selections in the coming seasons. Hopefully, they’ll be blasting “All-Star” by Smash Mouth on repeat when opportunity knocks on their door.