CALGARY AB - FEBRUARY 19: Gary Roberts #10 and Mike Vernon #30 of the Calgary Flames Alumni chat before their game against the Montreal Canadiens Alumni during the Alumni game held as part of the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic festivities at McMahon Stadium on February 19 2011 in Calgary Alberta Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)
Today, we review past Panthers defenseman Per Gustafsson, left winger Gary Roberts, and center Chris Gratton.
69. Per Gustafsson
Gustafsson, a 6'2" defenseman from Oskarshamn, Sweden, was playing with HV71 Jonkoping of the Swedish Elite League when Florida chose hiim in he 1994 NHL Entry Draft. The Cats spent an 11th round pick on him, 261st overall. Before joining the Panthers, he spent seven seasons with Jonkoping, scoring 49 goals and 45 assists in 243 games
Gustafsson jumped the pond to play with Florida in 1996-97. He scored a goal and an assist in his first game with the Panthers, a 6-0 victory over the Hartford Whalers on October 12. In 58 games with the Panthers he posted six multi-point efforts, totalling seven goals on 105 shots along with 22 assists (second best among Panthers defensemen). He also posted a team fourth best plus-11 rating along with 22 penalty minutes. Florida traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs on June 13 for Mike Lankshear.
1997-98 would see Gustafsson split the season between the Leafs (22 games, one goal, four assists) and the Ottawa Senators (nine games, one assist). He rejoined HV71 Jonkoping in 1998-99, and would remain with the club for 12 more seasons. In 733 total contests with the team he racked up 123 goals and 220 assists, retiring following the 2009-10 season.
All-Time Statline: One season, 58 games, seven goals, 22 assists, 29 points, plus-11 rating, 22 PIM, 6.2 APS.
68. Gary Roberts
Roberts, a 6'2" left winger from North York, Ontario, was originally selected by the Calgary Flames in the first round of the 1984 NHL Draft with the 12th overall pick. He ranks fourth all-time on Calgary's all time goals scored list with 257 (including a career high 53 in 1991-92) in 585 games played. He also made 248 assists while with the club. He's also second on the Flames all-time leaderboard with a plus-225 rating and with 1,736 PIM. He suffered a neck injury on April 3, 1996, causing him to miss the entire 1996-97 season.
Calgary traded Roberts along with goaltender Trevor Kidd to the Carolina Hurricanes prior to the 1997-98 season for Andrew Cassels and Jean-Sebastian Giguere. He played three seasons with the Canes, scoring 57 goals with 87 assists in 207 games. He signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 4, 2000, and played four seasons with the club. He scored 83 times and assisted on 74 others in 237 games played.
Roberts signed a free agent contract with the Panthers prior to the 2005-06 season. After not scoring for his first six games, he scored multiple points on eight different occasions, including a goal and two assists in a 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins on December 28. In 16:45 of ATOI, he totalled 14 goals on 122 shots, also collecting 26 assists, good for sixth on the team, finishing the season with a plus-4 rating and 51 PIM.
Roberts turned 40 during the 2006 offseason. He averaged 17:04 TOI through his first 50 games of the season.He had six multipoint efforts, including a two goal, one assist match in a Novermber 24 loss to the Ottawa Senators. He scored 13 goals on 94 shots with 16 assists and a plus-5 rating with 71 minutes in the box. The Panthers traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 27 for Noah Welch.
Roberts played parts of two seasons with the Penguins (57 games, 10 goals, 18 assists) before spending his final NHL season with the Tampa Bay Lightning (30 games, four goals, three assists). He retired from the game on March 10, 2009.
Gary Roberts Tribute (via yotties100)
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 108 games, 27 goals, 42 assists, 69 points, plus-9 rating, 122 PIM, 6.2 APS.
67. Chris Gratton
Gratton, a 6'4" center, was originally from Brantford, Ontario. He played two seasons with the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL, scoring 82 goals and 93 assists in 120 games. He was chosen by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft with the third overall pick.
Gratton played in 294 of Tampa Bay's next 296 games over the next four seasons, scoring 67 goals, including a career high 30 in 1996-97. He also made 102 assists and registered a minus-68 rating with 518 PIM. He signed on as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers prior to the 1997-98 season.
As a Flyer, Gratton scored 23 goals and 47 assists in 108 games before getting traded back to the Lightning with Mike Sillinger for Mikael Renberg and Daymond Langkow. In his second tour with the Bolts he scored 21 times and assisted on 46 others over 110 contests.
Tampa Bay traded Gratton to the Buffalo Sabres with a second round pick for Cory Sarich, Wayne Primeau, Brian Holzinger and a third round pick on March 9, 2000. In parts of four seasons with Buffalo he put up 50 goals and 81 assists in 244 games. He was traded away on March 10, 2003 to the Phoenix Coyotes with a fourth round pick for Danny Briere and a third round pick.
After 82 games over parts of two seasons (11 goals, 19 assists), with the 'Yotes, he was again traded away at the deadline, this time to the Colorado Avalache with Ossi Vaananen and a second round pick for Derek Morris and Keith Ballard for the stretch run. He put up two goals with an assist in 13 games. Florida signed him as a free agent after the season.
2005-06 would see Gratton rank fourth on the Panthers with 17 goals scored on 135 shots. He had nine multi-point games out of the 76 contests in which he appeared, averaging 15:43 per game. He made 22 assists, registered a plus-6 rating and 104 PIM.
In 2006-07, Gratton played 81 games for the Panthers in 12:06 per game. He scored 13 times on 131 shots, assisted on 22 others, racked up 94 PIM and finished the season with a plus-1 rating. Florida sent him back to Tampa Bay for a second round pick (Jacob Markstrom) after the season.
In Gratton's third round with the Bolts, he played in 78 games over parts of two seasons, scoring 10 goals with 13 assists. He later appeared in six games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, collecting one assist.
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 157 games, 30 goals, 44 assists, 74 points, plus-7 rating, 198 PIM, 6.2 APS.