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Of more importance today, Nieuwendyk rejoins Panthers Organization...


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Joe Nieuwendyk will return to the Florida Panthers as the Special Consultant to the General Manager, the team announced on Thursday.


Nieuwendyk will work with the team's hockey operation personnel in a variety of facets that includes scouting, drafting and signing of potential players, as well as player development.


"We are very pleased and honored to have Joe join our hockey operations staff," said Panthers' coach and general manager Jacques Martin said. "Joe has experienced tremendous success throughout his career and is one of the most respected individuals to have ever played in the NHL. His keen knowledge and understanding of the game will be a valuable asset for our organization both on and off the ice. Joe will work closely with our entire hockey operations staff to ensure that our club continues to take the necessary steps to reach our goals each year."


Nieuwendyk, 40, retired on Dec. 6, 2007 after experiencing chronic back problems. Nieuwendyk appeared in 1,257 National Hockey League games (48th all-time) for five different teams (Calgary 1986-95, Dallas 1995-2002, New Jersey 2001-03, Toronto 2003-04 & Florida 2005-07), earning three Stanley Cup rings.


Throughout his 20-year playing career, he scored 564 goals (19th all-time) with 562 assists and a plus 155 rating. Nieuwendyk currently ranks tied for 49th all-time in overall points scored (1,126). He amassed two 50-goal seasons, two 40-goal seasons and four 30-goal seasons during his playing career. The four-time NHL all-star appeared in 158 postseason games scoring 66 goals with 50 assists.


"I am extremely grateful to the Panthers organization for the opportunity that they have awarded me," Nieuwendyk said. "Our team has made significant progress over the last two seasons and I look forward to working with the entire Panthers organization and being involved in the decisions that will help mold the future success of this organization."

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