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When a team uses their first round pick in the draft on a certain player, that player will join the team with much higher expectations than all of the other rookies. Some of these players pan out and help their team compete for a championship every single year. However, some of the players that were picked in the first round don’t end up being what they are supposed to be. These players are labeled as “busts” or a failure. Some fans are used to watching their respective team make these picks every single year in the draft. Unfortunately for us, the Florida Panthers have had their fair share of bad draft picks.
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Below will be a list of who I believe are the top five busts in Panthers history.
Starting with number five…
Number 5: Kyle Rossiter (Drafted 30th overall by the Florida Panthers in 1998)
In the NHL the ideal defencemen is a big strong guy who can not only bring a certain physicality to the game that others cannot, but also at the same time someone who can help contribute to the offense a little bit. That’s what the Florida Panthers had in mind when they drafted Kyle Rossiter in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately, Panther fans and the organization didn’t really get to witness a whole lot of Rossiter. He spent most of his career in the AHL playing for different affiliate teams. During his time as a professional hockey player, Rossiter only played eleven games, nine of them being with Florida. In his nine total games as a Panther, Kyle scored zero points while also accounting for nine penalty minutes. This type of play definitely deserves the label bust and that is certainly what he is. Up next in the countdown is….
Number 4: Aaron MacDonald (Drafted 36th overall by the Florida Panthers in 1995)
When the Florida Panthers selected Aaron MacDonald with the 36th overall pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, the Panthers envisioned him to be the goaltender of the future. The expectations for MacDonald when he was drafted were set very high, and for him I believe they were set just a little bit too high. MacDonald went onto make his debut with the Florida Panthers on the night of….actually MacDonald never made his debut for the Florida Panthers as he failed to play a single game with the team. If you were to go on Google right now and type in Aaron MacDonald hockey player, not much would come up. This was by far one of the most wasted picks by the Panthers in the history of the franchise as they spent a high second round pick on someone who never even played in a single game for the team. Up next in the countdown is…
Number 3: Kendall McArdle (Drafted 20th overall by the Florida Panthers in 2005)
Kendall McArdle was definitely a questionable draft choice by the Panthers. After scoring 74 points in the WHL in his third season, the Panthers had no doubt in their mind that McArdle would definitely be a successful player for the franchise for years to come. Despite his lack of size, McArdle was able to be a force in the WHL as he scored 90 points in his first three seasons there. After the Panthers drafted him McArdle again had a brilliant season in the WHL scoring 71 points. Just a couple of years later the Panthers were ready to give the young winger and former first round draft pick a shot. When the Panthers opened up a spot on the roster for Kendall, they were expecting him to help boost a struggling offense. However, he made the offense worse. In the 33 career games as a Panther that he played, he only scored three points. This was certainly a drop off in numbers from the WHL where he scored 181 points in his five seasons. He was certainly not what the cats had in mind when they drafted him in the first round. Another bad pick for the Panthers. Up next in the countdown is….
Number 2: Denis Shvidki (Drafted 12th overall by the Florida Panthers in 1999)
When Denis Shvidki entered the NHL he possessed all the right tools to be a successful player. He had the size, he had the great ability to skate and create offensive opportunities for the team. When Denis Shvidki was a member of the Barrie Colts, he was almost unstoppable, scoring an unbelievable 200 points in only 122 games. When the Panthers picked Shvidki they were hoping that they would see that offensive production on the ice for them. However, that never actually turned out to be the case. Shvidki ended up only playing 76 games with the Panthers as he bounced back and forth from the AHL and the NHL. During his tenure with the Panthers, Denis only managed to score 25 points. This was definitely not the production the Panthers were hoping to see from their first round draft pick, but unfortunately it was. This was one bad pick by the Panthers and even though the 1999 NHL Draft wasn’t the best draft in history, there was still many quality players taken, including two all-star defender Nick Boynton and all-star centre Martin Havlat that were both taken after the selection of Denis Shvidki.
Number 1: Petr Taticek (Drafted 9th overall by the Florida Panthers in 2002)
The number one and final player on our countdown is, Petr Taticek. I know a lot of you die hard Panther fans were surprised by this choice, right? Im sure no one who is reading this was surprised by the choice as Petr Taticek only played a total of three games in a Panthers uniform. When Florida drafted him 9th overall, they never believed that he would turn out to be the player that he ended up being. The Panthers went onto eventually trade him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Richard Jackman who can also be considered a bust. While in Pittsburgh, Taticek actually played fewer games than he did for the Panthers. Taticek failed to play in a single game for the Penguins. Taticek was one of the biggest busts in the history of the NHL as he tricked two teams to pay him for almost nothing. Three games in his career in the NHL. One would think that after being drafted 9th he would be able to play more games than his draft position, but I guess not. This was easily the worst selection for the Panthers in the history of their franchise.
Just Missed The Cut
Goalie- Kevin Weekes
Defencemen- Rhett Warrener
Centre- Greg Watson
Defencemen- Chris Allen
And with that were done, the top five draft busts for the Florida Panthers. As much as I hate writing about the poor drafts from the Panthers, it was certainly an interesting piece for me, as I got to see just how far the Panthers have come as a team. They went from years of bad drafting which resulted in poor performances on the ice, to a division championship with young players such a Erik Gudbranson, Jacob Markstrom and Dmitri Kulikov being recently drafted, the future is looking brighter than ever for the Panthers as the organization along with us fans are hopping for another strong performance next season.
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