Big Night For These Four. Source: Getty Images Via

Daily Pucking Grind. Who's Number One? June 24th

Today’s music choice is Promised Land by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, with another signature performance by Clarence Clemons.

Sit back, relax, we have a lot to cover here, and getting through this will take you a while.  Since it’s Friday, and Draft day, you might as well call in sick, hide in your office, or grab the biggest cup of coffee you can.  You and I both know that not a lot is going to get done today anyway….right?

Wow! That’s about all I can say about yesterday’s trade activity leading up to the draft tonight.  In case you haven’t heard the Philadelphia Flyers virtually cut a huge piece of their heart out by trading captain Mike Richards and Jeff Carter out of the conference to make salary space for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Richards going to the Los Angeles Kings and Carter going to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Right around the time this was happening, Twitter was buzzing frantically, and another rumor showed up that Kris Versteeg was headed to the Panthers.  I have learned with Twitter that initial reactions to things like that take a great deal of composure.  The trade never happened, and at this point most likely isn’t.  We’ll have more on the Flyers trade later today as Scott has an article ready to go this afternoon.

If you’re wondering why the Panthers didn’t get in on this action as I was, my best explanation is this.  Either player would have been the obvious choice to come here.  Certainly we could have had Carter for Stephen Weiss and a couple of draft picks, but is Weiss really Flyer material?  As for Richards,  it might have taken a bit more to give up, not that he isn’t worth it, but he is public enemy number one here for his hit on David Booth.  Also, both players are signed to very long deals of which the Panthers most likely don’t want to saddle themselves with for one.  Second, Paul Holmgren most likely doesn’t want to see these guys play against his team any more than he has to and followed the old rule of never trade within your conference.

Now onto the draft.  There are rumblings (again be careful) that the Florida Panthers are looking to trade up with Edmonton to the number one spot to insure that they draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who it is anticipated will be the top pick.  Now obviously someone and or something has to go to the Oilers from us, and I have seen a few scenarios that sound interesting, but nothing is concrete at this point.  Names like Stephen Weiss and draft picks, the rights to Tomas Vokun, an unnamed player and a draft pick…..all speculation and I have no confirmation of anything.  Could also be a bunch of baloney.

So if not RNH, then who?  If the Panthers stay at third, and Nugent-Hopkins is taken, then my guess as is most other people’s is that it will be either Jonathan Huberdeau, another highly touted player from the Saint John Sea Dogs, or Gabriel Landeskog from the Kitchener Rangers.  In any of these cases the Panthers can’t go wrong.  While I’ve read denials that no trade activity is on the horizon, and that the Cats are comfortable at number three, you and I both know, you never tip your hat.   With 10 picks total including 7 of the first 91 available, there is some room to deal, and I wouldn’t put it past us to make something happen.  For the second year in a row the Panthers have a chance to grab a player that can be the future of the organEYEzation.  With last year’s pick of Erik Gudbranson, and this year’s pick, the blueprint will have a superb foundation.

Here’s a few links for Friday:

TSN’s Draft Center breaks down to top 60 players and includes a few with honorable mention.

Here’s a link to the schedule from the Panther’s website with some schedule highlights.  The Hawks come in on November 3rd, the day before my birthday!  We’ll see Winnipeg three times while they are still on our division, and the Can’t Nucks make a stop here in January.

Details from the day before the draft by the Florida Panthers including video interviews with Dale Tallon, Scott Luce and the tops three potential picks.

Flyers trades broken down.  Ilya Bryzgalov a 31 year old goaltender who has had a poor playoff record signs a deal that will keep him Flyer until Little Miss Rat Trick gets her PHD.  Almost.  Honestly, he has more pressure on him than she does!

George Richards and his take on what the Panthers may do.  On Frozen Pond.

Puck Daddy has the story of the stunning Richards deal to Los Angeles, including video from GM Paul Holmgren.

One more time, I do not want to be Ilya Bryzgalov.  Anything short of a Stanley Cup won’t be good enough.  Pro Hockey Talk.

It will be an interesting day, and night.  Just a few more hours to go and the Cats will reveal their first round pick, and their new home sweater!

Thanks for reading.   We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Florida Panthers Gabriel Landeskog Ilya Bryzgalov Jeff Carter Mike Richards Nhl Entry Draft Paul Holmgren Ryan Nugent-hopkins The Promised Land

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