1998-99 Florida Panthers
Road CCM Air-Knit, Size 54, Pre-Season (Rookie) Jersey
Light overall wear with a few nice board burns
and scuff marks. Team LOA signed by Director of Merchandising, Ron
Dennis. Ratchuk is a former first round draft pick of the Colorado
Avalanche. While he didn't accomplish much in his one year of college
at Bowling Green, he did learn that you do in fact need a PIN number
to take money out of an ATM machine. Peter is truly a nice guy,
and despite the fact that he never made an impact at the NHL level,
he's been very successful in the German Elite League having recently
being named the league's premier defenseman. This is the first road
jersey Ratchuk ever wore in the show.
Peter Ratchuk was
drafted 26th in the 1996 Entry Draft, by the Colorado Avalanche,
straight out of high school. He declined signing with Colorado and
became a free agent two years later. On June 17, 1998, Ratchuk signed
with the Florida Panthers. Florida GM Bryan Murray, upon signing
the free agent, described Ratchuk as "a good skating offensive
defenseman with great leadership qualities."
Ratchuk was joining a team that was short on blueliners. The Entry
Draft and further free agent signings turned a likely shot at the
NHL into a competition. He played in the first game at Florida's
new National Car Rental Arena, a preseason contest, and scored the
winning goal off a Dave Gagner pass. Ratchuk would spend the season
shuttling between the Panthers and New Haven. On one of the call-ups
he was inserted into the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The game, played on January 14, 1999, saw the Panthers down a goal
in the third period, when Peter Ratchuk fired the puck into the
Hurricane cage with six minutes left in the game. Florida did lose
the game but Ratchuk had his first NHL goal.
Ratchuk played most of the next two seasons in Louisville with the
Florida farm team. He did see action in eight games with the NHL
Panthers but did not register any points. At the end of the 2000-01
campaign he became a free agent as his contract with the Panthers
h ad expired. On August 14, 2001, he made a start with the Pittsburgh
Penguins organization. The Penguins assigned him to their AHL club,
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the 2001-02 season. His leadership qualities,
that Bryan Murray noticed, have been recognized again with his being
named assistant captain on AHL.