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Building a Foundation

Friday, 05.25.2007 / 3:50 PM ET / 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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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