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The Panthers 2011-12 season is quickly approaching and with that, floridapanthers.com is going 15 in 15 by taking a look at the top five questions, players to watch and games of the season on a countdown to the home opener on October 15th against Tampa Bay. We'll unveil one of the top five on a rotating basis each day to help fans get ready for what hopes to be an exciting season.

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Countdown 14: No. 5 Player To Watch; Ed Jovanovski

Saturday, 10.1.2011 / 4:48 PM ET / Countdown To Home Opener 2011
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Countdown 14: No. 5 Player To Watch; Ed Jovanovski

Defenseman Ed Jovanovski makes a return to South Florida after signing a four-year contract on July 1.
In today's topic, we take a closer look at defenseman Ed Jovanovski in the Top Five Players To Watch this season.

Back on July 1, with the Panthers looking to overhaul a roster and team that finished 15th in the Eastern Conference, one of the first calls of the day went out to a familiar face. At least a familiar face in terms of Panthers history.

That player? Defenseman Ed Jovanovski.

The first overall pick in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft spent three and a half seasons in South Florida racking up 83 points in 253 games before being traded to Vancouver as part of a deal for sniper Pavel Bure.

Now after spending six and a half seasons in Vancouver and another five in Phoenix, the Windsor, On., native is back where he started.

"It's good. Florida, having started my career here, the fans were always great to me," said Jovanovski. "It was tough to leave a while ago but it's good to be back."

Signing a four-year contract on the first year of free agency, Jovanovski will be looked upon as a steady presence on the blueline and help mentor the young Cats defensemen of Dmitry Kulikov, Keaton Ellerby, Jason Garrison and possibly Mike Kostka and Erik Gudbranson.

Having played in over a thousand games (1,019 to be exact), Jovanovski has plenty to share with the young defensemen but he wasn't brought in just for that purpose. Having made the playoffs the last two seasons with Phoenix, Jovanovski is hoping to help be a part of a leadership group that leads the Panthers back to the playoffs.

"I think right now looking in the past. There's no point," said Jovanovski of the past ten years of no playoffs for the franchise. "The future is kind of the beginning of this franchise. I think everybody sees good things happening for this team."

With such an overhaul over the summer, Jovanovski will be looked upon to help the new additions and holdovers mesh. What should help is that he was here before and knows what it was like when the Panthers were the toast of the town.

"We have to come together and we have to come together quick," said Jovanovski. "That's what we have to strive for, make sure guys take care of each other, look out for each other and just build that comraderie right away."

BY THE NUMBERS

4 - Recorded four points in a game twice during his career with his most recent coming against Minnesota on January 16, 2010 (four assists).

6 - Scored double digit goals six different times during his 15-year career. Last accomplished the feat during the 2009-10 season (10) with Phoenix.

7 - Has picked up 549 penalty minutes in his time in South Florida, good enough for seventh most on the franchise list. Trails only Paul Laus (1,702), Peter Worrell (1,375), Scott Mellanby (953), Bill Lindsay (609), Robert Svehla (603) and Olli Jokinen (597).

51 - Recorded a career high 51 points during the 2007-08 season while playing in his second season in Phoenix.

253 - Played in 253 games for the Panthers before being traded to Vancouver. Total is good enough for 30th most on franchise list. Needs just 29 games to move into 20th place on list (Jody Hull - 281).
 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 53 17 23 13 40
J. Huberdeau 56 11 29 10 40
J. Jokinen 56 11 27 12 38
V. Trocheck 56 17 18 2 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 56 18 16 11 34
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
A. Ekblad 52 11 13 17 24
B. Campbell 56 5 18 20 23
N. Bjugstad 41 9 10 -5 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 14 5 .924 2.29
A. Montoya 8 4 1 .926 2.06

 
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