Businessman H. Wayne Huizenga was awarded an NHL expansion franchise. A few months later, in April 1993, he announced that the team would be called the Florida Panthers.
The Florida Panthers played their first game, a 4-4 tie against the Chicago Blackhawks on the road. Scott Mellanby scored the franchise’s first-ever goal. The team’s first win (and first shutout) came three days later on October 9 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-0, on the road.
The Florida Panthers ended the regular season with a record of 33-34-17, finishing 5th in the Atlantic Division. At the time, their 83 points was an NHL record for points by an expansion team.
The Florida Panthers won the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, 4-1, against the Boston Bruins. They won Game 5 — and their first playoff series — in a dramatic come-from-behind fashion when Bill Lindsay scored the winning goal in the 4-3 victory, an iconic moment for the young franchise.
The Florida Panthers dispatched the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers before defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Eastern Conference Championship. Then the Panthers faced the Colorado Avalanche in the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final series. They ultimately lost, 4-0.
John Vanbiesbrouck earned his 300th win as a goaltender, joining an elite club, during a 6-2 defeat of the New York Islanders. At the time he was only the 15th player to achieve this milestone and only the second American. It was also his 100th win as a Panther.
The Florida Panthers played their first game in the National Car Rental Center, an exhibition game against the Boston Bruins. The Center was the team’s first true home, after having shared the now-demolished Miami Arena with other teams. The name has changed several times and is now BB&T Center.
Pavel Bure led the league in goals with 59, earning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the second consecutive year (he had scored 58 goals the previous season). He was the first NHL player to win the trophy in consecutive seasons.
Pavel Bure scored his 400th NHL career goal in a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on the road. He would go on to score a total of 437 goals (152 of which were for the Panthers) before retiring.
Olli Jokinen posted a new franchise record with 6 points (2 goals and 4 assists) in a single game against the New York Islanders. The Panthers won at home, 8-5.
The Florida Panthers retired Bill Torrey’s no. 93, the first ever retired Panthers number.
Stephen Weiss played his 614th game with the Panthers, becoming the franchise’s all-time leader for games played. He would go on to log 654 games for the Cats.
The Florida Panthers ended the regular season with a 4-1 defeat of the Carolina Hurricanes at home, giving them a record of 38-26-18, which put them 1st in the Southeast Division. It was the first division title in franchise history.
The Florida Panthers advanced to the Conference Quarterfinal for the first time in 12 years. In Game 2, the Panthers won their first playoff game in 15 years against the New Jersey Devils. The Panthers eventually lost the series, 4-3, in second overtime during Game 7.
Jonathan Huberdeau was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy for NHL Rookie of the Year. Huberdeau was the first Panther to receive the award (Aaron Ekblad would later receive it in 2015).
New York businessman Vincent “Vinnie” Viola announced his purchase of the Florida Panthers, saying: “I had this intuition about the Panthers and I was starting to watch the team at the end of last year and I had this intuition about hockey. … I would never think I’d be in this privileged position six weeks ago.”
The Panthers enjoyed their longest winning streak in franchise history! From December 15 to January 10, they won 12 straight games.
Jaromir Jagr recorded his 742nd career goal, passing Brett Hull to take the no. 3 position on the NHL’s all-time goals list during a 3-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets.
Jaromir Jagr scored one point (an assist) in a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at home, making him the second-highest points-scorer in NHL history with 1888 points. He would finish his career with 1921 points, second only to Wayne Gretzky.
The Florida Panthers retired no. 37 in honor of H. Wayne Huizenga, the team’s founder and first owner. Huizenga was born in 1937 and 37 was his favorite number. Mr. Huizenga passed away not long after on March 22, 2018.
Roberto Luongo became the third goaltender in NHL history to reach the 1,000-game mark, joining Hall of Fame goalies Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy. The Panthers won over the Boston Bruins at home, 3-2.
With a 4-3 overtime victory against the Colorado Avalanche on the road, Roberto Luongo recorded his 485th win. At the time, the feat pushed him past Hall of Famer and former Panther Ed Belfour to become the third-winningest goalie in NHL history. As of May 2021, Luongo is no. 4 on the all-time wins list.
In the final game of the season, Aleksander Barkov tallied two points to break Pavel Bure’s single-season franchise record. Barkov’s career-best 96 points placed him at 10th in NHL scoring and led all Finnish NHL players.
The Panthers hired the second-winningest coach in NHL history and three-time Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville as the team’s new head coach.
Roberto Luongo announced his retirement to fans in a letter on the Florida Panther’s website. After 19 seasons in the NHL, Luongo ranked third all-time for wins (489), and second in most games played by a goalie (1,044). The fan favorite announced that he planned to be “just another retiree in South Florida.”
The new goalie in South Florida quickly proved his worth by securing his 500th career win. At the time, Sergei Bobrovsky was just the 75th netminder in NHL history to reach the milestone.
Roberto Luongo became the first player in franchise history to have his number retired. The team saluted their longtime goaltender by raising his no. 1 to the rafters for good.
Along with other major sports leagues, the NHL paused the 2019-2020 regular season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHL resumed play in August, allowing 24 teams to compete for the Stanley Cup.
The Panthers made the 2019-2020 playoffs, which were held in August after the NHL paused the regular season at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida faced the New York Islanders in the Qualifying Round, ultimately losing the series 3-1.
Keith Yandle secured the third-longest consecutive games streak in NHL history with 885 meetings in a row. The veteran defenseman is as durable as it gets!