CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 23: Marcus Kruger #16 of the Chicago Blackhawks sets up in front of Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Florida Panthers as Alexander Sulzer #2 holds him with his stick at the United Center on March 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Today, we look back at Andrej Podkonicky, Alexander Sulzer, Stephane Richer, Jamie Leach, and Ryan Jardine.
219. Andrej Podkonicky
Podkonicky was a 6'2" left winger from Zvolen of the Czech Republic. The St. Louis Blues picked him up with their eighth round pick of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft with the 196th overall pick.
Beginning in the 1996-97 season, Podkonicky spent 135 games over two seasons with the WHL Portland Winter Hawks, scoring 55 goals and 90 assists.
For the 1998-99 season, Podkonicky joined the Blues AHL affiliate, the Worcester IceCats. He would play with the club for the next 134 games, culminating in a trade to the Panthers for Eric Boguniecki on December 17th, 2000. His IceCats totals: 37 goals and 52 assists. He would spend most of the season with Florida's AHL affiliate, the Louisville Panthers, totalling six goals and 10 assists in 41 contests. He would make his NHL debut in March, as Florida gave him a six game look. He scored his first NHL goal in a 3-3 tie with Montreal on March 20th. To date, it remains his only NHL point.
For the next two seasons, Podkonicky appeared in Slovakian, German, and Finnish leagues. Prior to the 2003-04 season, he signed a deal with the Washington Capitals. He scored 26 points in 56 games with the Portland Pirates, making a two game return to the NHL in March. Since that time, he has spent the last eight seasons in the Slovakian League.
All-Time Statline: One season, six games, one goal, zero assists, one point, even rating, two PIM, 0.1 APS.
218. Alexander Sulzer
Sulzer (number 2, pictured above) was a 6'1" defenseman from Kaufbeuren,Germany. The Nashville Predators selected him with their third round pick of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft with the 92nd overall pick while he was skating with the German League Hamburg Freezers.
Sulzer would play the next four seasons with the DEG Metro Stars in the German League, scoring 16 goals and 23 assists in 180 total games. He would join the Predators AHL affiliate beginning in the 2007-08 season, the Milwaukee Admirals. He ended up scoring 22 goals and 74 assists in 145 AHL contests with Milwaukee. During the three and a half seasons Sulzer spent in the Nashville organization, he was also called up to play with the Predators on nine occasions, totalling one goal and five assists in 53 games. Nashville traded him to the Panthers in February, 2011 for "future considerations."
Sulzer would immediately join the Panthers, ultimately playing in nine contests for Florida throughout the rest of the 2010-11 season. He totalled one assist and seven shots on goal, logging a minus-3 rating.
Sulzer signed a free agent contract with the Vancouver Canucks prior to last season. The Canucks dealt him to the Buffalo Sabres on the trade deadline date, along with forward Cody Hodgson, in exchange for defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani and forward Zack Kassian.
All-Time Statline: One season, nine games, zero goals, one assist, one point, minus-3 rating, zero PIM, 0.1 APS.
217. Stephane Richer
Richer was a 5'11" defenseman from Hull, Quebec. In four seasons with the QMJHL Hull Olympiques, he totalled 49 goals and 168 assists in 236 games, ending with the 1986-87 season.
In 1987-88, Richer made his professional debut with the AHL Baltimore Skipjacks, totalling three assists through 22 games. Midway through the season, he signed a minor league deal with the Montreal Canadiens, joining their AHL affiliate in Sherbrooke for the remainder of the season, as well as the next two. In 171 contests he scored 21 goals with 45 assists.
Prior to the 1990-91 season, Richer signed with the Los Angeles Kings. He signed back with Montreal after a season spent with the Kings IHL and AHL teams. 1991-92 would see him score 17 goals with 47 assists in 80 AHL contests for the Fredericton Canadiens. The offseason would see him on the move again, signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to the 1992-93 season. After three NHL games in October, Tampa Bay traded him to the Boston Bruins for Bob Beers. He scored one goal and four assists over 21 games, spending most of the season with the AHL Providence Bruins.
The Panthers picked up Richer from the Bruins in the 1993 Expansion Draft. He spent 146 games with the IHL Cincinnati Cyclones over the next two years, appearing with the Panthers in three games. He scored his only Florida point in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in November 1993.
Richer would never again suit up in the North American Hockey Leagues, instead spending the next seven seasons with Adler Mannheim of the German League, scoring 212 points in 346 games. After coaching for several seasons, he moved on the the General Manager ranks, and is currently the GM of the Hamburg Freezers.
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, three games, zero goals, one assist, one point, minus-1 rating, two PIM, 0.1 APS.
216. Jamie Leach
Leach was a 6'1" right winger from Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was with the OHL Hamilton Steelhawks when selected in the third round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the 47th overall pick. In 186 overall OHL contests with the Steelhawks and later the Niagra Falls Thunder, Leach totalled 81 goals and 100 assists. In 1988-89 he totalled 107 points in only 58 games.
1989-90 would see Leach open the season with the AHL Muskegon Lumberjacks, scoring 22 goals and 36 assists in 72 games. He made his first NHL appearance in November with the Penguins, collecting three assists over 10 games in November and December. It was the same story in 1990-91, as he spent the bulk of the season with the Lumberjacks scoring 55 points in 43 games. He joined the Penguins for seven games in March, scoring two goals. Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup that season, but Leach's name was not featured as he did not meet the minimum games played for the honor.
In 1991-92, Leach played 38 games with the Penguins, scoring five goals and four assists. The Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup, and this time Leach's name was included on the engraving. He was waived after playing just five games with Pittsburgh through October in 1992-93. He was soon thereafter picked up by the Hartford Whalers, with whom he would spend 19 games in December and January of that season, scoring three goals and two assists.
Leach signed with the Panthers as a free agent during the 1993 offseason. After a few games with the Cincinnati Cyclones, he was called up to Florida in November, playing in two games for the club. He would score his only Panthers goal on the third, in a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In total that season, he scored 34 points in 74 Cyclone games.
Leach would spend the next two seasons in various levels of the Panthers organization, with the AHL Rochester Americans (47 games), the IHL Cyclones (11 games), and the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays (five games). After it became apparent that he would not soon be recalled to the NHL, he signed on for one season with the British Sheffield Steelers. He joined the rival Nottingham Panthers (not an affiliate of Florida) for four more seasons before announcing his retirement.
All-Time Statline: One season, two games, one goal, zero assists, one point, minus-2 rating, zero PIM, 0.1 APS.
215. Ryan Jardine
Jardine was a 6' left winger from Ottawa with the OHL Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds when Florida selected him in the fourth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft with the 89th overall pick. After selection, he remained with the Greyhounds for two more seasons, totalling 98 goals and 100 assists in 198 OHL contests.
The 2000-01 season would see Jardine graduate to the Panthers AHL team in Louisville. He scored 12 goals and 14 assists in 77 games, spending the whole season with the club.
In 2000-01, Jardine opened the season with the Panthers new AHL affiliate, the Utah Grizzlies, scoring 16 goals and 16 assists in 64 games. He earned a callup to Florida in March, and in eight games he collected two assists as the Panthers posted a 1-4-3 record with him in the lineup.
Jardine was never again called up to the NHL, spending the next three seasons as a member of the San Antonio Rampage, scoring 34 goals and 38 assists in 163 contests.
In 2005-06, Jardine joined the German League Hamburg Freezers, and would later move on to the Swedish League, playing with Mora IK in 2006-07.
All-Time Statline: One season, eight games, zero goals, two assists, two points, even rating, two PIM, 0.1 APS.