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LBC's All-Time Florida Panthers Roster Countdown: 24-23

Today, we check out center Stu Barnes and right winger Ray Sheppard.

Feb. 26, 2012: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss (center) waves after playing in the most games in franchise history at the BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Feb. 26, 2012: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss (center) waves after playing in the most games in franchise history at the BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

24. Stu Barnes

Barnes was a standout 5'11" center from Spruce Grove, Alberta with the WHL Tri-City Americans when selected by the Winnepeg Jets in the first round of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, fourth overall. In three WHL seasons, he split his playing time between the New Westminster Bruins (71 games, 37 goals, 64 assists) and the Tri-City Americans (133 games, 111 goals, 174 assists).

Before making the turn professional, Barnes played the full 1990-91 season (53 games. 22 goals, 27 assists) with the Silver Medal placing Canadian National Team, at the 1991 World Championship. Over the following three seasons, he played significant time with both the Jets (102 games, 25 goals, 23 assists) and their AHL affiliate, the Moncton Hawks (72 games, 36 goals, 51 assists).

Contrary to popular belief, Barnes was not on the Panthers when they opened the franchise with a 4-4 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks on October 6, 1993. He played the first 19 games of the season with the Jets before a trade brought him to Florida with a sixth round pick (Chris Kibermanis) for Randy Gilhen on November 23. As a Panther that season, he had four two point games, with a goal and an assist each time, including in a 5-3 win over the Hartford Whalers on December 29. In 59 Florida games that season, he placed third on the team with 18 goals (on 148 shots) with 20 assists, a plus-5 rating, and 30 penalty minutes.

In 1994-95, Barnes led the Panthers with 19 assists and tied for the team lead with 29 total points. He appeared in 41 games on the strike-shortened 48 game schedule, finishing with a team second best plus-7 rating and only eight penalty minutes. He had five two point games on the season, including a goal and an assist in a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on March 22.

1995-96 would see Barnes rank fifth on the Panthers, with 44 points on 19 goals and 25 assists. He ranked last on the team with a minus-12 rating and also spent 46 minutes in the penalty box. As the Panthers charged to the Stanley Cup Championship series, he led the team with 10 assists, also making six goals through 22 postseason matchups. Including the regular and postseason, Barnes had 14 multi-point efforts, including a three assist game in Florida's 6-2 win in game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

In 1996-97, Barnes plyaed 19 games into the season with the Panthers. He made three assists in a 6-0 victory over the Whalers on October 12 on his way to two goals and eight assists. Florida sent him to the Pittsburgh Penguins with Jason Woolley for Chris Wells on November 19.

Tribute to Stu Barnes (via Uki1338)

Barnes went on to play for 10 more NHL seasons with the Penguins (204 games, 67 goals, 69 assists), the Buffalo Sabres (310 games, 67 goals, 105 assists), and the Dallas Stars (329 games, 53 goals, 67 assists). He officially retired preceding the 2008-09 season. After serving as an assistant coach with the Stars for two seasons, Barnes, along with Olaf Kolzig, currently own the WHL Tri-City Americans.

All-Time Statline: Four seasons, 191 games, 49 goals, 72 assists, 121 points, minus-3 rating, 94 PIM, 13.8 APS.

23. Ray Sheppard

Sheppard was a 6'1" right winger from Petawawa, Ontario when chosen in the third round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, 60th overall. Before joining the AHL's Rochester Americans in 1986-87 (55 games, 18 goals, 13 assists), he played three seasons with the OHL Cornwall Royals (180 games, 150 goals, 130 assists).

Sheppard played three seasons in Buffalo (159 games, 64 goals, 50 assists). He later played with the New York Rangers (59 games, 24 goals, 23 assists), the Detroit Red Wings (274 games, 152 goals, 113 assists), and the San Jose Sharks (51 games, 27 goals, 19 assists).

On March 16, 1996, Sheppard was traded to Florida with a fourth round pick (Joey Tetarenko) for a second (Geoff Peters) and a fourth round pick (Matt Bradley). Just after joining the team, he put up a hat trick in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on March 21. He played the last 14 games of the regular season with the team, totalling eight goals on 52 shots with two assists. In 21 postseason contests, he scored eight goals and eight assists. On April 17, he scored twice with an assist in game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. In game two, he scored a goal and three assists in Florida's 6-2 win.

1996-97 would see Sheppard take 226 shots on goal, potting a team leading 29 of them. He also led the squad with 60 total points. His 31 assists finished second only to defenseman Robert Svehla's 32. He finished the season with a plus-2 rating and 86 penalty minutes through 68 games. His 16 multi-point games included three hat tricks: On November 26 in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres, on December 22, in a 7-3 loss to the New York Rangers, and on March 13 in a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

In 1997-98, Sheppard spent most of the season with the Panthers, scoring a team fourth best 14 goals on 136 shots with 17 assists through 61 contests. He earned 21 penalty minutes and finished with a minus-13 rating. Florida traded him to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 24 for goaltender Kirk McLean. He played in 84 games with the Canes over the next two seasons (84 games, 29 goals, 35 assists).

Ray Sheppard - Power Play Goal (via JesGolbez)

On November 15, 1999, Sheppard signed back with the Panthers as a free agent. He played 47 games for the Panthers that season. On April 5, he scored two goals and an assist in a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins. He totalled 10 goals on 74 shots with 10 assists. He had a minus-4 rating and only four penalty minutes on the season. He retired following the season, and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Florida Panthers Alumni Association.

All-Time Statline: Four seasons, 190 games, 61 goals, 60 assists, 121 points, minus-13 rating, 33 PIM, 14.8 APS.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.