Best Panthers Player (2001)

Viktor Kozlov

If right wing Pavel Bure remains the Panthers' superstar, a goal addict forever in search of his next fix, then center Viktor Kozlov serves as his pusher. Kozlov, who skates with Bure on the team's number one line, feeds a steady supply of dazzling passes toward his Russian countryman. Kozlov is the best stick handler in the league. The attention defenders must give to his powerful wrist shot creates opportunities Bure is skilled at exploiting. Not that Kozlov can't score on his own; during the 1999-2000 season, he set personal bests in goals, assists, and points. A nagging shoulder injury kept his numbers down this season, but when he's healthy and in the lineup, he, Bure, and the rest of the team all play at their best.


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