Being drafted first overall in the 1994 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers, Ed Jovanovski came into the league with extremely high expectations. Before his NHL career, Jovanovski spent two years with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Not being rated a high prospect for the draft, he admitted that he was a bit surprised by being selected 1st overall. Getting set to play for the Panthers the following season, Jovanovski was forced to stay with the Spitfires due to a dispute with the NHL players and owners that suspended the 94-95 season for three and a half months. During his tenure with the Spitfires, Jovanovski went on to be placed in the All-Rookie Team and the Second All-Star Team during the 1994 season.
Following his career in the OHL, Jovo signed a four year contract worth $5.7 million dollars. He was forced to miss the first 11 games of his rookie campaign due to a broken hand that he sustained in a fight with winger Brendan Shanahan, who played on then NHL franchise, Hartford Whalers. With the Panthers going into the playoffs as the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, Jovanovski accounted for 9 points during the Stanley Cup Finals. After scoring 10 goals and 11 assist in his rookie year, he was encouraged by the Panthers management to focus more on his defensive game. Jovanovski was also nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy which is given to the best rookie in the NHL, which was later given to Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson.
The following season wasn’t as promising as his first season. Jovanovski received multiple suspensions for fighting. The suspensions weren’t the only problem. He also suffered a knee injury during the season. With suspensions that combined to five games and the knee injury, Jovanovski missed a combined 21 games. The next season saw a little bit of improvement. Playing in 81 ones Jovanovski scored 23 points. Even after his improvement, Jovanovski was entering his contract year and after not living up to his expectations, Jovanovski was starting to be labeled as a bust to South Florida fans and sports analyst. After spending a little more with three season with the Panthers, Jovanovski was sent to the Vancouver Canucks in a seven player deal that included up and coming star Pavel Bure. During his tenure with the Panthers, Bure was viewed as one of the top hockey players in the league scoring almost 100 points in his first two full season with the team.
After being traded to Vancouver improved his game, proving to everyone that he shouldn’t be labeled as a bust just yet. Despite having a good career in Vancouver, Jovanovski didn’t start to well with the Canucks. Within a month of being traded to the team, Jovanovski broke his foot in an attempt to block a shot. That wasn’t his only problem. He was involved in an on the ice incident with forward Shayne Corson. Corson said that the incident occurred because Jovanovski commented on Corson’s family. After the incident on the ice, the two men were sent off the ice. Corson then entered the Canucks dressing room to confront Ed about the situation. Due to the fact that he entered the opposing team’s locker room, Corson received a five game suspension. In his second full, season with the Canucks, Jovanovski’s career took off. He recorded his first All-Star season during the 00-01 season. He also earned his 1st of 3 consecutive Babe Pratt Trophy which is awarded to the Canucks best defensemen voted on by the Vancouver fans. The following two seasons were just as successful. Jovanovski received an entry to the All-Star game. In 2003 Jovanovski was rewarded with a brand new three year contract extension. The day after signing, he suffered an injury to his foot which sidelined him for 14 games. Despite the season being cut down some by injuries, he put up a career high 40 assist. Halfway through the following season, Jovanovski suffered a third degree shoulder separation. The injury sidelined him for most of the season, however he later on returned to help the team clinch the Northwest Division title. With the NHL being locked out during the 04-05 season, Jovanovski received multiple injuries in the 04 World Cup. With the injuries that he suffered from, Jovanovski took the rest of the year off. With the NHL returning the next season, Jovanovski was on pace to have the best season of his career. However his season was cut short due to multiple injuries. Due to salary cap issues, Ed did not receive a new contract offer from the Canucks.
On July 1st, 2006 Jovanovski signed a five year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. Despite being named to the All-Star game, his season was cut short yet again due to an abdominal injury. The following season Jovanovski recorded a career high 51 points. It was the second highest point total by a defensemen in Coyotes history. He was also selected to his second straight All-Star game. The next few season continued to be shortened by multiple suspensions and many different injuries. In his final season with the Coyotes, Jovanovski continued to be the victim of injuries, missing time on six different occasions. After missing 20 games during the season, Jovanovski returned to for the end of the season as the Coyotes entered the playoffs facing the Detroit Red Wings for the second straight year.
On July 1st, 2011, Jovanovski made his triumphant return to the Panthers however he returned as a veteran that could help mentor many of the young players on the team. Even though he might not put up the numbers that he put up in his prime, Jovanvski has seen many minutes on the ice with young defensemen Erik Grudbranson and Jason Garrison. As the season continued on, Jovanovski continued to serve as a great defender who helped bring physical play that has been missing from the Panthers the previous seasons. With the season ending, the team looked to players such as Jovanovski and longtime Panther, Stephen Weiss to help guide the team in the right direction. With the Panthers clinching a playoff spot on Thursday for the first time in 12 years, the team has the opportunity to win their first division title, needing only one more point. Jovanovski has definitely brought a great amount of experience to the team, which has helped as the season continued. With 8 years of playoff experience in the NHL, Jovanovski is still going to have to continue his role as a veteran on the team as the Panthers inch closer to the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup.
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