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The new Florida Panthers number game: Who wore it best?

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Florida Panthers center Joe Thornton shows off his new threads at the team’s media day on Wednesday at FLA Live Arena. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

The Florida Panthers have a number of new players as the team officially reported to training camp on Wednesday with the first on-ice workout Thursday morning at 10.

So, what numbers will the new guys wear?

A couple of them changed over the summer and as late as Wednesday evening, some of the numbers had yet to be revealed on the Panthers official website.

The Panthers have invited 47 players to came and the numbers are official now. 

Anton Lundell, for instance, will continue to wear No. 15 after debuting it at development camp and at the team’s Prospect Showcase tournament. Hey, that’s the number he wore for HIFK so it was easy to guess.

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As we look into the numbers, we’ll give you a history of which Panthers throughout the franchise’s history had previously worn it.

With only one player number retired — Roberto Luongo’s No. 1 — just about everything else is up for grabs.

Well, two other numbers are off limits: No. 37, which is retired to honor founding owner H. Wayne Huizenga and No. 93 which honors the legendary Bill Torrey.

Onto the numbers!

No. 10 Anthony Duclair

Yeah, we know Duclair isn’t new — but those digits are.

Duclair wore No. 91 with the Panthers last season but with Brett Connolly traded at midseason, the No. 10 was available and Duclair snapped it up.

Panthers to wear No. 10: Dave Lowry, Esa Tikkanen, Pavel Bure, Gary Roberts, David Booth, John Madden, Mike Mottau, Joey Crabb, Brett Connolly.

Which Panther wore it best? Gary Roberts was one of the first players I covered as a beat writer in 2006 but, um, I’m not sure it ever should have been handed out after Pavel Bure was traded away. Bure was a special, special talent.

No. 13 Sam Reinhart

When the Panthers acquired Reinhart in a draft-day trade with the Sabres, the questions quickly turned to whether he would try and take No. 23 away from Carter Verhaeghe.

He did not. Reinhart said he always wore No. 23 because his dad did and is happy to take the No. 13 from one of his buddies he played with in Buffalo.

“To follow a former club legend in Mark Pysyk that wore the number before me,” Reinhart said, “is pretty exciting to have that opportunity myself.”

At least he’s not playing for the Dolphins. That number is unavailable due to the guy who definitely wore it best — Mr. Dan Marino.

Honorable mention to safety Jake Scott, the MVP of Super Bowl 7.

Panthers to wear No. 13: Oleg Kvasha, Vaclav Prospal, Juraj Kolnik, Anthony Stewart, Mike Santorelli, Mark Pysyk.

Which Panther wore it best? Mark Pysyk.

Nicknamed ‘The Prius’ by Keith Yandle for his hybrid role with the Panthers during the 2019-20 season, Pysyk was a pretty solid player in his four years with the Panthers. Pysyk set career-highs for goals and points in that hybrid role including a hat trick in Toronto against the Leafs. Legend, indeed.

No. 15 Anton Lundell

Lundell comes to the Panthers after being the team’s first-round pick in 2020. He had a terrific season for HIFK in the Liiga while also excelling at World Juniors and the World Championships. 

Panthers to wear No. 15: Randy Gilhen, Doug Barrault, Gaetan Duchesne, Brett Harkins, David Nemirovsky, Dave Gagner, John Jakopin, Jeff Ware, Jim Campbell, Eric Messier, Ty Jones, Jozef Stumpel, Jack Skille, Drew Shore, Paul Thompson, Riley Sheahan.

Which Panther wore it best? Jozef Stumpel.

‘Stumpie’ played three seasons in Florida, scoring 50-plus points in the first two to finish in the top three in team scoring behind Olli Jokinen and Nathan Horton/Joe Niuewendyk.

No. 17 Mason Marchment

As is the case with Duclair, Marchment isn’t new to the Panthers — but he is wearing a new number after giving up No. 19. There’s a good reason why he switched. Keep reading.

Panthers to wear No. 17: Mike Foligno, Dave Tomlinson, Jason Podollan, Viktor Kozlov, Viacheslav Butsayev, Steve Washburn, Ryan Johnson, Dwayne Hay, Greg Adams, Ryan Johnson, Matt Cullen, Garth Murray, Kendal McArdle, Jon Matsumoto, Filip Kuba, Jesse Winchester, Derek MacKenzie.

Which Panther wore it best: Derek MacKenzie.

With apologizes to Viktor Kozlov, who had better stats, MacKenzie was the team’s captain and a very solid fourth-line center for the team for four seasons. MacKenzie got hurt in the first game of what would be his fifth season, started working with the coaching staff and is now an assistant coach with the team. 

No. 19 Joe Thornton

To simply call Thornton a “veteran forward” is understating things a bit after he signed a one-year deal with the Panthers this offseason. Thornton, 42, goes into his 24th NHL season as the league’s active leader in scoring (1,529) and second in games played (1,680). Thornton wore No. 97 with the Maple Leafs last season after wearing No. 19 throughout his long career. Well, guess what? He’s got it back. Thanks Mason!

Panthers to wear No. 19: Andrei Lomakin, Brad Smyth, Radek Dvorak, Len Barrie, Serge Payer, Stephen Weiss, Byron Ritchie, Dominic Moore, Marty Reasoner, Scottie Upshall, Mike Matheson.

Which Panther wore it best? Radek Dvorak.

Even though Dvorak wore three different numbers with the Panthers — he started with No. 9 then wore No. 14 when he came back — his best years in Florida were in No. 14. Dvorak, in two stints with the Panthers, played 613 games which still ranks second all-time in franchise history behind Stephen Weiss.

No. 21 Zac Dalpe

Dalpe is a veteran forward who comes to the Panthers after spending the past three seasons in the Columbus organization. Although it is more than likely Dalpe starts the season in Charlotte, if his history holds true, he’ll end up in the NHL sometime this season.

Dalpe was originally thought to be wearing No. 26 but in training camp on Thursday, he was in No. 21. 

Panthers to wear No. 21: Tom Fitzgerald, Mark Parrish, Denis Shvidki, Alexei Semenov, Cory Murphy, Krys Barch, Vincent Trocheck.

Which Panther wore it best? Vincent Trocheck.

Although Fitzgerald was an original Panther and a fan favorite, the nod goes to Trocheck. In his first full NHL season, Trocheck scored 25 goals and getting 23 and then a career-high 31 in his next two seasons. A bad ankle injury slowed him down in the 2018-19 season and he was traded to Carolina at the deadline in 2020. He is now back to form with the Carolina Hurricanes — and was a big reason the Hurricanes won six of eight against the Panthers last season. 

Here is what we published Thursday when Dalpe was thought to be wearing No. 26 … 

Panthers to wear No. 26: Scott Levins, Jesse Belanger, Ray Sheppard, Dan Boyle, David Nemirovsky, Ivan Novoseltsev, Pierre Dagenais, Mike Van Ryn, Steve Bernier, Mikael Samuelsson, Bobby Butler, Teddy Purcell, Thomas Vanek.

Which Panther wore it best? Ray Sheppard.

‘Shep’ came to Florida at the 1996 trade deadline and helped the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Finals as he led the team in scoring that year in the postseason. He also led the Panthers in scoring the following season. Sheppard ended his 13-year NHL career with the Panthers in 2000 and is a well-respected youth hockey coach in South Florida.

This story was updated from its original version on Thursday.

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