In the hours leading up to Friday’s first round of the NHL Entry Draft, the internet (especially Twitter) was abuzz with trade rumors, many of them about what the Florida Panthers would do with its number three overall pick. Would they find a way to trade up to number one to take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Would they trade with the hyperactive Philadelphia Flyers and move to the eighth spot and pick up Kris Versteeg? Or if they stayed at three, who would they pick? In the end, the Panthers did what I believe is the smart thing and stayed put. And with the Colorado Avalanche selecting Gabriel Landeskog at number two, Florida’s pick became academic. Jonathan Huberdeau of the St John Sea Dogs is a Florida Panther!
If you read The Rat Trick’s draft profile of Huberdeau, you already have an idea of what he can do. In him, the Panthers have what many suggest might be the best goal scorer in this draft, which is music to the ears of a franchise that in desperate need of lamp-lighters. But the real hope is that can develop into the number one center that has been DESPERATELY needed in Sunrise for many years. If he doesn’t, I think the Cats will be quite content if he just develops into a high scoring winger.
With the selection, Huberdeau became the first forward selected with the Panthers first pick since Michael Frolik in 2006, which explains the team’s scoring woes. But with this pick and last year’s draft class, Dale Tallon has done his best to restock the Panthers with quality forward prospects. And with six rounds set for Saturday, the makeover of the Florida Panthers continues!
Keep checking back here all weekend long as we break down all Panthers moves of the draft.
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