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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Bottoms Up: Steven Lorentz Enjoying Ride with the Florida Panthers



Florida panthers
Steven Lorentz, pictured here in March against the Philadelphia Flyers, is playing hockey in June for the first time with the Florida Panthers. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

FORT LAUDERDALE — Steven Lorentz was out celebrating Canada Day with his friends when he got word he had been traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Florida Panthers. 

When July 1 comes around this year, he hopes to be continuing a Stanley Cup celebration. 

Lorentz went from the bottom of the NHL to the top last summer, the Sharks sending him to Florida in exchange for Anthony Duclair

The trade, on Bill Zito’s end, solved two problems: He freed up some much-needed salary cap space which allowed him to sign Evan Rodrigues, and, brought in a potential key player to upgrade Florida’s fourth line in Lorentz. 

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Lorentz lost the fourth-line center battle with Kevin Stenlund, but after spending parts of two months as a healthy scratch, worked his way back into the lineup as a winger. 

Regardless of how things worked out, Lorentz is just glad it did. 

And now he is here, growing his beard longer than it ever has been, playing hockey in Florida in June. 

Life, for Steven Lorentz, ain’t bad.

“This is pretty neat,’’ Lorentz said after a rigorous on-ice workout on Tuesday. “Just reflecting back to where I was last year; I had been done playing for a couple of months by now. Watching on TV sucks, watching in general is no fun. As much as we could use a little rest, I just want to get this thing going. I am so excited to take another step toward my dream, and that is to win the Stanley Cup.

“To do it with a group of guys like this, it would be so special. Today is June 4, and hopefully we play toward the end of the month. We all know the end goal. As much as I want it to get started, I just want to enjoy it day-by-day, keep things in perspective. You don’t know if you’ll ever get back again.”

On Monday, Carter Verhaeghe talked about his road to the Panthers and what it took to finally break through. 

Lorentz did not take the easy road to this point, either. 

A seventh-round draft pick out by Carolina, Lorentz was cut from the Charlotte Checkers twice and spent much of his first two professional seasons playing across Alligator Alley for the ECHL Florida Everblades. 

“There is always adversity,’’ he said. “Being told no — one door may close, but another one may open. Sometimes, they don’t open on their own and you have to kick it down yourself. I think that never-quit attitude has gotten me to this point.’’

After his first full season with the AHL Charlotte Checkers was cut short by the pandemic, Lorentz made his NHL debut with the Hurricanes during the 2021 Covid season. 

Over two seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, he played in 112 NHL games. 

Then, he was traded to San Jose. 

Last year, Lorentz played on a Sharks team which had no delusions of playoff glory. The team finished near the bottom of the NHL standings as the franchise rebuilds itself. 

When he was traded to the Panthers, a team which had just lost to Vegas in the Stanley Cup Final, he figured his playing time might be downgraded — but he was getting the chance to win once again. 

That is all that mattered. 

“Nothing against that year in San Jose, it was very good for me. But it helps put things in perspective,’’ Lorentz said. “I was on a good team in Carolina, we made the playoffs and then I got to taste what it’s like to be on a rebuilding team, we obviously had some struggles. In the moment, it obviously sucks and there sometimes there is not a light at the end of the tunnel. It made me a tougher player, mentally.

“But to come here is being on the other side. We win more often than not, but you have to compete to play, fight to get into the lineup. It has been worth it. I am so fortunate for the experiences I have had in this league … I am very fortunate I can take that into the Final, use that to my advantage.’’

For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

  • When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • National TV: ABC
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1:Edmonton at Florida, Saturday; Game 2: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 10; Game 3: Florida at Edmonton, Thursday June 13; Game 4: Florida at Edmonton, Saturday June 15; Game 5*: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday June 18; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday June 21; Game 7*: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary
  • How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2.
  • This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17).
  • Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties
  • Postseason History: First Meeting

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