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Building a Foundation

Friday, 05.25.2007 / 3:50 PM / News
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Building a Foundation

For the past two years, Panthers General Manager and head coach Jacques Martin has preached to South Florida what it takes to build a winning franchise. Martin does not want to have one successful season in Florida. He wants sustained success, playoffs every season and eventually a Stanley Cup.

Six months ago, Martin contracted one of the best builders in the business in current Panthers Assistant General Manager Randy Sexton. Both Martin and Sexton laid the foundation for a current team that will compete for the Stanley Cup.

For nine seasons under Martin as head coach, the Senators drafted Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Kelly, Chris Neil, Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza. They also acquired Wade Redden and Peter Schaefer. And while he never got a chance to play directly for Martin, Ray Emery was drafted while Martin was still the coach in Ottawa.

“When I was there, Ray [Emery] was developing in Binghamton (AHL),” Martin said “You have to give the right time for your players to develop properly.”

Panther fans must look at all the work done in Ottawa under Martin and grin from ear to ear. Martin found a way to make Ottawa a constant in the playoffs, and the process in Florida is already underway.

“I feel good about where the organization is, where the team is now because I was part of it for nine years,” Martin said about Ottawa. “The challenge now is to build our organization to have the same kind of success as Ottawa is having. You want to be in the playoffs every year, and have a chance to win the Stanley Cup every year. That’s our goal here.”

While some of the names Panther fans hear over the next two months might not be known to you, just remember it was the same way in Ottawa.  No one knew who Ray Emery, Chris Kelly or Chris Neil was, but Martin knew. He let the process run its course.

When Sexton took over the Assistant GM position, he said the difference between Ottawa and Florida was that Florida was already two or three years ahead of where Ottawa was when it began the building process. Sexton, who is a co-founder of the Ottawa franchise, saw the Senators build from the ground up. He knows what it takes to build a winner, which is why Martin hired him.

Prior to joining the Panthers in May 2004, Martin guided the Ottawa Senators to a 43-23-10-6 mark during the 2003-04 campaign earning 102 points. For his career with the Ottawa, he posted a 341-255-96 regular-season record in nine seasons. He stands as the franchise's all-time leader in games coached (692), regular-season wins (341), playoff wins (31) and playoff games coached (69).

Under Martin's guidance, the Senators earned their first President's Trophy, posting a 52-21-8-1 mark upon completion of the 2002-03 campaign. He led Ottawa to its first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils.

Ottawa just shows how long a process it can be. This is a team that has been able to stay at the top of the league the last six years. This team was built and consistently improved with some tweaking here and there. I went through growing pains with those players.”

In his first two full seasons with Ottawa, the Senators were a below .500 team, finishing with 77 points in 1996-97 and 83 points the following season. It wasn’t until Marin’s third season as the leader of the Senators that Ottawa became one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams. During the 1998-99 season, Martin led Ottawa to a 103-point season. In his last six seasons as Ottawa head coach, the team had over 90 points each season.

Now Martin is entering his third season with Florida. His 85 and 86 point totals in with the Panthers are more then the first two years he had with Ottawa. But if history shows us anything, it is that the Panthers under Martin are due for a breakout 2007-08 season.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 61 21 15 -9 36
J. Huberdeau 58 9 24 4 33
A. Ekblad 61 9 23 6 32
J. Jokinen 60 6 25 -3 31
B. Boyes 59 10 18 6 28
J. Hayes 52 17 10 -5 27
A. Barkov 50 9 12 -4 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
B. Campbell 61 3 17 1 20
D. Bolland 37 3 13 2 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 22 16 11 .921 2.38
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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