I read an old post from The Rat Trick about where the 2010-11 Florida Panthers were now. I decided to do a 2011-12 Where are the Panthers now. This is the 2011-12 Florida Panthers Opening Night Roster from October 8, 2011. This team won the southeast division and broke the longest playoff-less streak in NHL history.
4 Keaton Ellerby- Ellerby was a healthy scratch on opening night in 2011-12 and was scratched for most of the year only playing 40 games. Ellerby was traded after 9 games in 2012-13 to the Los Angeles Kings. In LA, he found a role in the starting lineup playing 35 games for the Kings. After he was resigned to a 1 year deal, he was placed on waivers and ended up in Winnipeg. After rotating in and out of the lineup for a year, he was demoted to the AHL before he left for the KHL in 2015. He has bounced around in Europe too. He signed a contract with Mora IK of the SHL last week.
7 Dmitry Kulikov- Kulikov had his best offensive season in 2011-12 putting up 4 goals and 28 points in just 58 games. However, Kulikov transformed into a more defensive responsible defenseman afterwards. In 2015-16 Kulikov was the longest tenured Panther on the squad. He was a tragedy of the Panthers front office analytic movement, being shipped off to Buffalo where he has struggled. He signed a 3 year $13 million dollar contract with Winnipeg.
9 Stephen Weiss- Known as Mr. Panther through the dark ages, Weiss finally got to the playoffs with the Panthers in 2011-12. Weiss had a great 2011-12 campaign posting 20 goals and 57 points. However after an injury riddled lockout shortened season he left for Detroit. He did terrible there and is currently a UFA. Don’t expect the 34 year old center to ever play another NHL game.
10 David Booth- Booth suited up for 6 games with the Cats in 2011-12 before he was traded to Vancouver. Booth had posted a -6 in his 6 games which led Tallon to ship him out. Booth had a few good years in Vancouver before a quick pit stop in Toronto and eventually he ended up in the KHL where he is now.
12 Jack Skille- After being picked 7th overall by Dale Tallon in Chicago in 2005, Skille underperformed in the Windy City. When Tallon ended up in Florida, he liked Skille a lot that he brought him to the Panthers in the terrible Michael Frolik deal. Skille played a solid role in the Panthers bottom six for a few years until Tallon gave up on him in the 2013 offseason. Skille ended up in Columbus for 2 years (he took a summer stop in New York with the Isles in 2014-15 before being reclaimed by the Jackets on waivers) before pit stops in Colorado (2015-16) and Vancouver (2016-17). Skille is currently an unrestricted free agent but don’t count him out as a solid edition to a team’s 4th line.
13 Mike Santorelli- He did not play on opening night due to a shoulder injury. After returning, he struggled to keep his ice time with the Panthers and did not play at all in the 2011-12 playoffs. Santorelli was placed on waivers halfway through the lockout shortened season of 2012-13 and was claimed by Winnipeg before he signed in Vancouver that offseason. After three stops in Toronto, Nashville and Anaheim, Santorelli left for a few games in Europe before he retired from hockey.
14 Tomas Fleischmann- Flash led the team in goals (27) and points (61) in 2011-12. He followed that up with 35 points in 48 games in 2012-13. He began to decline in 2013-14 posting 28 points in a year that was awful for the team. However, after being demoted to the bottom 6 in exchange of younger players he was eventually traded to the Ducks. He split 2015-16 with Montreal and Chicago, even playing a few games on the Hawks top line with Jonathan Toews. However, since then Flash has been a UFA. Since then he returned to South Florida to help grow the sport.
18 Shawn Matthias- Serving as a solid third line center, Matthias had a decent 2011-12 campaign. In 2012-13, in the absence of top line center Stephen Weiss, Matthias was promoted to the top line and posted 21 points in 48 games. Matthias was brought back to Earth in 2013-14 and was traded at the deadline to the Canucks along with Jakob Markstrom in exchange for Roberto Luongo and Stephen Anthony. Matthias posted a career high 18 goals and 27 points with the Canucks in 2014-15 and signed with the Maple Leafs. He was traded to the Avalanche. He then signed with the Winnipeg Jets for 2 years and will be on the Jets heading into pre-season.
19 Scottie Upshall- After suffering through a couple of injury riddled seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13, Upshall had a career high 37 point season in 2013-14. Acting as a placeholder as the Panther prospect pool began to emerge, Upshall saw less playing time in 2014-15. He signed for two years in St Louis and is currently a UFA.
20 Sean Bergenheim- After scoring 17 goals in 2011-12, Bergenheim missed the entire 2012-13 season due to legal reasons. What happened was that he showed up to training camp with a hip injury. He ended up missing the entire year because of surgery. After being suspended without pay by the team (the Cats thought he had suffered his injuries in Finland during the lockout), he filed a medical greviance arguing he had suffered the injury prior to the lockout. The arbitrator agreed with Bergenheim and the Cats paid him $2.75M to watch TV while recovering from surgery in 2012-13. When he came back, Bergenheim became a liability. He was a puck hog with a terrible shooting percentage and delayed the growth of Aleksander Barkov. Bergenheim clashed with coach Gerard Gallant until Dale Tallon dumped him on Minnesota. Since 2015-16 he has played in Europe.
22 Matt Bradley- Bradley struggled in 2011-12 and would be dumped by the Panthers the following offseason. After playing one game in Finland, he suffered a concussion and would never again play professional hockey.
24 Ryan Carter- Another early season trade, Carter appeared in 7 games with the Cats before he was traded to the Devils. He had a few solid years as a depth player in New Jersey and Minnesota before he was ultimately demoted to the AHL in 2016-17. He is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent.
30 Scott Clemmensen- The backup goalie, Clemmer appeared in 30 games and was a solid backup to the older Jose Theodore in 2011-12. Clemmensen would be more of a 1B goalie that year as he had 3 playoff games too. He fell back to Earth in 2012-13 serving as a backup to Jakob Markstrom and struggled. In 2013-14 he and Markstrom would constantly rotate as Tim Thomas’s backup before Thomas and Markstrom were traded and Roberto Luongo solidified the starting role. He would back up Luongo for the remainder of the year before joining New Jersey. An injury forced him to retire and he is currently a development goaltending coach role.
32 Kris Versteeg- Versteeg had a solid 2011-12 season with the team playing with Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss. However injuries caused him to miss most of 2012-13. He was traded to the Blackhawks and won a cup in 2014-15. Versteeg split 2015-16 with Carolina and Los Angeles. Right now he is in Calgary. Versteeg is a journeyman forward who can play anywhere in your lineup.
43 Mike Weaver- Weaver was a defensive defenseman and a physical player who played with the Cats. After being undrafted, Weaver worked his butt off to get to the NHL. Weaver was very overlooked by fans but his lack of scoring cause him to be traded to Montreal in 2013-14. He retired in 2015.
44 Erik Gudbranson- The fan favorite tough man had his rookie season in 2011-12 and while not putting up points, he instantly connected with fans for his old school physical Don Cherry style mentality. This mentality helped the Panthers for several years. While he could hit hard, Gudbranson turned the puck over a lot and was traded to Vancouver much to the outrage of fans in Florida. He is now the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named person of Panthers twitter. Now he is in Vancouver and recovering from surgery.
51 Brian Campbell- Dale Tallon signed Campbell to a ridiculous contract when in Chicago. Tallon brought Soupy to Florida. Soupy posted a career high 53 points in 2011-12 and took home the Lady Bing Trophy for Sportsmanship. Campbell quickly became the team’s top defenseman and would mentor Aaron Ekblad in Ekblad’s first few years with the team. Campbell never missed a game as a Panther. He finished his career in Chicago last year and announced his retirement yesterday.
52 Jason Garrison- Garrison had a career high 16 goals in 2011-12 and holds the record for most goals in one season by a defenseman in franchise history (Although Aaron Ekblad will defeat that record sometime in the next couple years). Garrison left for a big pay day in Vancouver and fell back to Earth. He was traded to the Lightning and will finish out the final year of his ridiculous contract across the state.
55 Ed Jovanaski- Jovo-Cop returned in a mentorship role in 2011-12. After being named captain, he suffered a near-career ending injury. However, he would play 37 games in 2013-14. He was slower and wasn’t as effective after the surgery. He was placed on waivers for the purpose of buyout and would retire on December 28th, 2015.
57 Marcel Goc- Goc had a few solid seasons as a middle of the lineup center before he was traded to Pittsburgh. With the Pens, Goc served as a 4th line center. He was traded to St Louis and then would end up in Germany in 2015-16. Goc is still playing in Germany.
60 Jose Theodore- Jose Theodore’s career ended in Florida. Theodore and Scott Clemmensen were a great 1a/1b tandem in 2011-12. However an injury kept Theodore out of the 2012-13 season and he would end up retiring.
63 Evengy Dadonov- The only player on this list who is still on the team, Dadonov was traded to Carolina in 2011-12. After a few successful years in the KHL, Dale Tallon signed him to a 3 year $12M contract. Dadonov has a lot to prove though as he gets a second chance in the NHL on a completely different Florida Panthers team. I just hope he didn’t sell his old South Florida house.
82 Tomas Kopecky- With two cups under his belt, he was brought in as another experience piece. The leader in goals in 2012-13, he quickly fell off the mark and would post a horrid 2014-15 season before he left to go overseas.