The Florida Panthers are taking the ice to face the Vegas Golden Knights in a highly anticipated 2023 Stanley Cup Final. Before the game, however, Florida took time to extend a heartwarming gesture to one of the team's veteran players.
Panthers forward Zac Dalpe is slotting into the lineup for Game 1 on Saturday night. As a result, Dalpe is eligible to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup if the Panthers prevail in this series.
It's an incredible gesture on behalf of the team for a player who is a bit of a journeyman. The 33-year-old Ontario native broke into the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2010-11. He spent parts of three seasons there, scoring five goals and 10 points in 41 games.
In 2013, the Hurricanes traded Dalpe to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Dalpe scored a career-high four goals in 55 games with Vancouver before leaving for the Buffalo Sabres the following season.
Beyond those teams, the Panthers veteran has also spent time with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild. Dalpe joined the Panthers in 2021, scoring two goals in 15 regular season games.
Game 1 on Saturday is not Dalpe's first taste of action in these Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has played nine games this postseason for the Panthers, scoring a goal. However, Dalpe was not eligible to have his name on the Cup as he had not played 41 games in the regular season with Florida.
Whether you are a Panthers fan or not, this is an incredible gesture on behalf of the team. Dalpe, like every other player on this Florida team, has worked his entire life to get to this moment. Only time will tell if he will have his name on the Stanley Cup by the end of the series.