Florida Panthers: Top 5 American born players in franchise history

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 08: Nick Bjugstad
SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 08: Nick Bjugstad /

Happy Independence Day to our American readers. To celebrate, we will be listing the top 5 Panthers from the United States!

#5 Nick Bjugstad (C)

Time with the Team: 2013-present

Stats: 280 GP; 63-67-130

Born: Blaine, Minnesota

At number five we have Nick Bjugstad. A skilled sniper, Bjugstad put up 24 goals (43 points) in 2014-15 and a team leading 38 points in 2013-14. The Minnesota native has struggled in the past couple years due to injuries, but look for him to return to the 20+ goal man he once was.

#4 Craig Anderson (G)

Time with the Team: 2006-09

Stats: 53 GP; 24-14-7; .928; 2.52

Born: Park Ridge, Illinois 

Craig Anderson got the big push to start his career in Florida. Anderson spent three years in Florida, mainly as a backup goalie but he played excellent when called upon. Still the franchise leader in save percentage for goalies who played 30+ games with the club, Anderson spent time in Colorado, before finding a permanent home in Ottawa. The 2017 Masterton Trophy winner persevered during the regular season and postseason, while his wife fought a battle with cancer.

#3 David Booth (LW)

Time with the Team: 2006-11

Stats: 309 GP; 87-80-167

Born: Detroit, Michigan

David Booth was an electrifying player during his first few years with the Cats. Booth was at the helm of the great 2008-09 team that just barely missed the playoffs, as David scored 31 goals that year. He would be the only Panther to break the 30 goal barrier for several years until Jonathan Marchessault scored 30 last year. Sadly, what could’ve been a great career was cut short as his career was ruined thanks to a brutal head shot by Mike Richards. He suffered a second concussion later that year, which ultimately was the final blow to what could’ve been a promising career. Booth played a full season in 2010-11 and had a decent year. However, GM Dale Tallon dealt him early in 2011-12 to Vancouver. He would never be the same player as he once was.

#2 Vincent Trocheck (C)

Time with the Team: 2013-present

Stats: 260 GP; 60-77-137

Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Vincent Trocheck is arguably the best Panther draft steal ever. Picked 62nd overall, Trocheck quickly became one of the top prospects of the team with an elite prospect pool of Bjugstad, Huberdeau and others. He would score 8 points in 20 games in 2013-14. Next season, he had 22 points in 50 games. His breakout season was 2015-16 when Trocheck was the first player on the team to reach the 25 goal mark that year. He had 53 points in 76 games. Trocheck’s goal total stayed at 25 due to a foot injury. Sadly, Trocheck’s 2016 season is most remembered for game 6 of the playoffs that year when he was tripped by Matt Martin, resulting in John Tavares tying the game and ultimately eliminating the Panthers in double overtime. Vincent turned that meme over in 2016-17 by posting 54 points and being selected to the all-star game. He is one of the core four players of this team going into the future.

Next: Florida Panthers: significance of a healthy Jonathan Huberdeau

#1 John Vanbiesbrouck (G)

Time with the Team: 1993-98

Stats: 268 GP; 106-108-43; .912; 2.58

Born: Detroit, Michigan

At number one is the Beezer. Vanbiesbrouck is arguably the best player and goaltender in Panthers franchise history. While his regular season stats aren’t impressive, he is well known for being the man who got the Panthers to the cup finals in 1996. He stood on his head, posting a .932 save percentage that postseason run. Beezer and Patrick Roy had the greatest goalie duel in NHL history (in game 4) as each goalie kept a clean sheet until the third overtime period. In result, Beezer eventually allowed a goal and the Avalanche won the cup.