The numbers game: New Florida Panthers get their digits
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When it comes to choosing a number, professional athletes are a varied bunch.
Some players just have to have a certain number, one they are comfortable with or have an emotional attachment to.
Last year, for instance, Sergei Bobrovsky signed with the Florida Panthers and really wanted to wear the No. 72 he had worn since being traded from Philadelphia to Columbus.
Only problem was, Frank Vatrano had that number.
No problem, Vatrano said, Bob can have it. For a price.
Vatrano wanted a Rolex watch and dinner for a year.
In October, Bobrovsky paid up as Vatrano showed off a picture of the two holding an expensive bottle of wine, a sack from McDonald’s and a silver Rolex.
Not bad for changing your number to 77 as Vatrano did.
“When I was in Boston, it was the number they gave me when I first got called up,’’ Vatrano said during the 2018-19 season of why he was wearing No. 72 with the Panthers.
“I had an option to switch here in Florida, but I kind of stayed with it, the number I came into the league with. I didn’t really want to switch it. It has sentimental meaning. I played my first game in it, and I didn’t want to switch.”
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Сергей выполнил своё обещание. Бутылка вина, часы Rolex, обед из Макдональдса 😊👌 Весь набор за номер «72»😄 Напомним, что Фрэнки ранее любезно уступил Сергею 72-й номер. @sergeibobrovsky #sergeibobrovsky#краснаямашина#сборнаяроссии#hockey#хоккей#нхл#кхл#мхл#бобровский#bobrovsky#bob72#нашивнхл#кубокгагарина#Flapanthers#bluejackets#CBJ#nhl#новокузнецк#кузня#сергейбобровский#florida#floridaPanthers#ДостатьБобровского
On Wednesday, the Panthers announced what numbers its six newest players would wear in the coming season.
Two of the numbers were most recently worn by players no longer with the team: Colton Sceviour and Mark Pysyk.
That’s as close as we got to a number swap this season.
We've got some new digits for you! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/nwkBBQjboD
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 14, 2020
Here are the numbers, and what prominent Panthers wore them (including the first player to ever rock that number with the team) in the past:
7 — Radko Gudas
The defenseman has worn a variety of numbers over the years including No. 33 last season with the Capitals.
After starting his NHL career with the Tampa Bay Lightning wearing No. 75, Gudas switched to No. 7.
Now back in the Sunshine State, he’s going back to it.
Prominent Florida Panthers to wear No. 7: Brian Benning, Rhett Warrener, Steve Montador, Dmitry Kulikov, Colton Sceviour.
13 — Vinnie Hinostroza
When Hinostroza first broke into the league with the Blackhawks, he wore No. 48 but switched to No. 13 when he was traded to Arizona.
Hinostroza has to hope Joel Quenneville recognizes him in a different number.
Prominent Florida Panthers to wear No. 13: Oleg Kvasha, Anthony Stewart, Mike Santorelli, Mark Pysyk.
21 — Alexander Wennberg
Wennberg signed a one-year deal with the Panthers on a prove-it deal and took the No. 21 most recently worn by Vincent Trocheck.
Wennberg wore No. 41 at the start of his career in Columbus before switching to No. 10.
Brett Connolly took that number when he signed as a free agent in 2019.
Prominent Florida Panthers to wear No. 21: Tom Fitzgerald, Mark Parrish, Denis Shvidki, Vincent Trocheck.
23 — Carter Verhaeghe
Although Billy Lindsay wore No. 23 when he started with the Panthers, he had No. 11 on his back when he scored perhaps the most memorable goal in franchise history against the Bruins in the 1996 playoffs.
Since then, the number has been worn by some noticeable names although many of them did a lot more elsewhere — or are just remembered for being traded for Stu Barnes.
Prominent Florida Panthers to wear No. 23: Billy Lindsay, Chris Wells, Martin Gelinas, Scott Gomez, Rocco Grimaldi.
65 — Markus Nutivarra
For all four of his seasons in Columbus, Nutivaara wore No. 65. The nice thing about wearing a high, “spring training” number is it is usually available if you want it.
In the history of the Panthers, only one other player wore this one — Victor Oreskovich for 50 games during the 2009-10 season.
Prominent Florida Panthers to wear No. 65: Victor Oreskovich.
70 — Patric Hornqvist
In Nashville, Hornqvist wore No. 27; in Pittsburgh No. 72. Now with his third NHL team, Hornqvist is changing again.
If he wanted to keep No. 72, he would probably have to give Sergei Bobrovsky something better than a watch and some McDonalds.
Prominent Florida Panthers to wear No. 70: Riley Stillman (now 61).
94 — Ryan Lomberg
In his 11 NHL games with Calgary, Lomberg wore No. 56 which was worn last by Erik Haula (who may want it back?).
He also wore No. 10 in the minors (Connolly).
So, why not go with the birth year? When Lomberg eventually takes the ice with the Panthers, he will be the first player in franchise history to wear those digits.
Prominent Florida Panthers to wear No. 94: None.
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