About Florida Panthers
The young franchise was established in 1993 as Florida Panthers. The team hasn’t had a lot of success but in 1995-96 the Panthers reached the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to the Avalanche.
It was during the year when the Panther’s player killed a rat by one timing it in a locker room, and then scored two goals the same night, his teammates called it a rat trick. When the story reached the outside world the team’s fans started bringing rubber rats to the venue and throw them in celebration of goals. It started from 16 rats ending up at over 2000 in playoffs.
Unfortunately after few more seasons the franchise really started to struggle reaching postseason only once since their last appearance in 2000 playoffs.
Beside the 1996 conference championship the team has one division title to their name, earned in 2011-12 season which they earned playing in Southeast Division. Currently the team is a member of Atlantic Division in Eastern Conference, their colours are red, blue, gold and white and their mascot is Stanley C. Panther named for the Stanley Cup. He is supported by another mascot, half the size of Stanley’s, named Mini Stanley.
The Panthers are coached by Gerard Gallant a former power forward for the Red Wings. After retiring from playing, he had various coaching jobs and he eventually landed in Florida in 2014 as their head coach.
The goalie duties mainly belong to Roberto Luongo a well-rounded veteran who started playing in NHL in 1999. He played for the Panthers since 2000 until 2006 and then returned to the team in 2013 after several season with the Canucks.
He won the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2011 for a goalie that played for the team that allowed the fewest goals in the season. He’s also been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy several times during his career.
The team’s captain is Willie Mitchell (defenceman) who joined the Panthers in 2014 after many successful seasons playing four various teams that included two Stanley Cups with the Kings.
The experienced due can share their knowledge and expertise to two younger team’s assets namely in Aaron Ekblad (defenceman) and Jonathan Huberdeau (left wing) who both were drafted by the franchise; Ekblad as a first overall in 2014 who earned himself Calder Memorial Trophy for his excellent rookie season and Huberdeau was drafted in 2011 with 3rd overall pick and who also won Calder Memorial Trophy in 2013 for his outstanding performance in rookie season.
With the very experienced group of players and two very promising young rookies of the year the fans might expect their team’s luck to smile towards them a bit more often nowadays.