Today, we check out former short-time Panthers Jamie Linden, Brad Smyth, Mikhail Yakubov, Eric Boguniecki, and Stefan Meyer.
259. Jamie Linden
Linden was a 6'3" right winger from Medicine Hat, Alberta. In 1988-89 he joined the WHL as a member of the Portland Winter Hawks, spending the next four seasons with four different WHL teams. He totalled 77 points in 263 games.
Just before Florida's inaugural 1993-94 season, Linden was signed to a minor league contract, and made his IHL debut with the Cincinnati Cyclones, splitting the season with the ECHL Birmingham Bulls. In 63 games, he scored a combined four goals and 12 assists.
Linden started 1994-95 with the Cyclones, totalling nine points over 51 games. He earned a callup to Florida in February, and in four games totalled a minus-1 rating and 17 penalty minutes. It was the only NHL action of his career.
Over the next three seasons, Linden appeared throughout the AHL and the IHL. His brother is 19-year NHL veteran and two-time All-Star Trevor Linden.
All-Time Statline: One season, four games, zero goals, zero assists, zero points, minus-1 rating, 17 PIM, -0.1 APS.
258. Brad Smyth
Smyth was a 6' right winger from Ottawa. He was part of the Panther organization from the genesis of the franchise, playing the 1993-94 season between the IHL Cincinnati Cyclones and the ECHL Birmingham Bulls, scoring 33 goals and 33 assists in 59 games.
In 1994-95, Smyth continued his assault on minor-league goaltending, scoring 35 goals and 46 assists over 62 games between the Bulls, the Cyclones, and the AHL's Springfield Indians. 1995-96 would see him open the season on the AHL Carolina Panthers, scorching the opposition with 68 goals and 58 assists in 68 games on the season. His performance couldn't be ignored forever, and Florida sent for him in February, where he made his NHL debut for seven games with the Panthers. On March 11th, he scored his first career goal in an 8-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Smyth totalled one goal and one assist with a minus-3 rating and four penalty minutes while with the club.
Smyth opened 1996-97 with the Panthers, and over eight games totalled one goal, a minus-3 rating and two penalty minutes. On November 28th, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for a third-round draft choice (who turned out to be Vratislav Cech - yeah, me neither). After leaving, he was asked what he missed the most about the Panthers, according to Karen Crouse, SunSentinel:
Attendance at the Forum has fallen off accordingly, with the Kings playing before an average of 3,954 empty seats in the outdated 16,005-seat building. Asked what he misses most about South Florida, Smyth replied without hesitation, "The fans. They're great down there. Going to a Panthers game is an event there. It makes for an exciting atmosphere."
In 53 games with the Kings over the next two seasons, Smyth achieved his highest level of NHL success, scoring nine goals and 11 assists.
Meanwhile, Smyth spent parts of 10 seasons in the AHL, scoring a total of 326 goals and 341 assists in 610 games. Starting in 2006-07, he joined the Hamburg Freezers in the German League.
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 15 games, two goals, one assist, minus-6 rating, six penalty minutes, -0.1 KAPS
257. Mikhail Yakubov
Yakubov is a 6'3" center from Barnaul, USSR. He was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft with the 10th overall pick.
In 2001-02, Yakubov joined the WHL Red Deer Rebels, scoring 32 goals and 57 assists in 71 contests. He spent most of the next three seasons with the AHL Norfolk Admirals, playing in 172 games and scoring 27 goals and 38 assists.
While with the Admirals, Yakubov earned two callups to the Blackhawks in 2003-04, totalling 30 games. He scored one goal and seven assists with a minus-12 rating and eight penalty minutes. After the 2004-05 season was cancelled, he earned another callup to Chicago in January, 2006. In 10 games he scored one goal and two assists with an even rating and eight PIM. He was waived on January 29th, where the Panthers snatched him up.
In February and March, Yakubov appeared in 13 games for the Panthers, assisting on one goal and earning a minus-1 rating and four penalty minutes. He was sent back to the Admirals for eight games at the end of the season, and returned to Russia, where he has appeared with several teams in the last six years.
All-time statline: One season, 13 games, zero goals, one assist, minus-1 rating, four penalty minutes, -0.1 KAPS
256. Eric Boguniecki
Boguniecki, a 5'8" center, was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the eighth round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft with the 193rd overall pick. He spent the next four seasons playing with the University of New Hampshire, scoring 78 goals and 91 assists in 142 games.
In 1997-98, Boguniecki played 61 games between the ECHL Dayton Bombers and the IHL Fort Wayne Komets, totalling 23 goals and 26 assists in 61 games. He spent the entire 1998-99 season with the Komets, scoring 32 goals and 34 assists in 72 games.
Boguniecki signed a free agent contract with the Panthers on July 7, 1999. Most of the season was spent with the Panthers AHL affiliate, the Carolina Panthers. He earned a callup in March, and played four games with the club, posting a minus-1 rating and two penalty minutes. He took five shots on goal over 34 total shifts.
Boguniecki was with the AHL Panthers when the St. Louis Blues decided they wanted him back, trading Andrei Podkonicky to the Panthers on December 17th. In 2002-03, he scored 22 goals and 27 assists with the Blues over 80 games, by far the best season of his career. He would spend the next five seasons in the Blues organization, later playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders. He is currently an assistant coach with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
All-time statline: One season, four games, zero goals, zero assists, zero points, minus-1 rating, two PIM, -0.1 KAPS
255. Stefan Meyer
Meyer, a 6'2" left winger for the Medicine Hat Tigers, was selected by the Panthers in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft with the 55th overall pick. In five seasons with the Tigers ending in 2004-05, Meyer scored 123 goals and 123 assists in 282 games.
In 2005-06, Meyer would join the Rochester Americans, Florida's AHL affiliate, for most of the next four seasons. He scored 64 goals and 66 assists, spending 363 minutes in the penalty box over 266 games.
During that time, Meyer earned three separate callups to the Panthers, all in 2007-08. A 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in October, back-to-back losses to the Carolina Hurricanes and the Atlanta Thrashers in December, and a 2-1 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens in February. In his four games he earned a minus-1 rating in 10 minutes on ice. After the 2009 season, Florida traded him to the Phoenix Coyotes for Steve Reinprecht.
Meyer later resurfaced for 16 games with the Calgary Flames in 2010-11, earning two assists and 17 PIM.
All-time statline: One season, four games, zero goals, zero assists, zero points, minus-1 rating, zero PIM, -0.1 KAPS