While the second day of the NHL is never equal to day one in excitement, it’s still a day that gives us a glimpse into the future of the franchise od the Florida Panthers. After selecting defenceman Mike Matheson in the first round (23rd overall), the Panthers hoped to continue building on their already promising crop of youngsters. Players selected in rounds two through seven of the draft don’t carry as much potential, there are still those diamonds in the rough that can be found. The Detroit Red Wings have been the masters of selecting players that either no one knew of or about, as well as players that have slipped through the cracks. Did you know that Pavel Datsyuk was taken in the 6th round? Henrik Zetterberg was taken in the 7th round. And of course Nicklas Lidstrom was drafted in the third round. But hey, no one’s jealous right?
The Panthers started out day two with third round pick Steven Hodges who played for the Victoria Royals in the WHL. Hodges scored 21 times last season, and had 25 assists in 72 games. Hosges is 5′ 11″ and 167 lbs, and plays centre.
In round four the Panthers may have selected their very own “sleeper”. Russian left wing Alexander Delnov, a 6′ 0″ right winger who played for Mytishchi in the Russian Junior league. Delnov had 11 goals and 11 assists in 47 games last season, and reportedly had an impressive showing in the U18 World Tournament.
•In a world under-18 championships that offered precious few surprises, Russian winger Alexander Delnov was a pleasant exception.
We don’t know where the Russians had Delnov stashed all year or why they chose to break him out for only the season’s final tournament, but he was a breath of fresh air among a stagnant Russian forward group that offered precious little skill or passion.
Delnov was constantly active and involved over in Brno, and showed good muscle along the walls and a heavy shot off the wing. He has speed and some shiftiness and is a determined competitor who is tough to discourage or knock off the puck.
Given that only the very top-end Russian prospects get drafted these days, we’re not sure Delnov’s name will be called in June. But RLR‘s belief is that if his last name were Smith and he played in the Ontario Hockey League, we would be looking at a third-round selection.
For a player of his youth and size the reports indicate that he’s a solid skater, with a good set of hands, and he works well at both ends of the ice. I don’t think anyone saw this one coming, and maybe just maybe this is that one player that’s taken who will turn into something big.
In the sixth round the Panthers selected Francis Beauviller who played for the Lewiston MAINEiacs in the QMJL. Beauviller is listed at 6′ 1″ and is another centre, as the Panthers attempt to get strong, and deep up the middle.
Finally in round seven after a quick deal with the Dallas Stars ( we swapped next year’s seventh round pick for theirs this year), the Panthers selected Jonatan Nielsen, a tall defenceman from Sweden. The information I found on Nielsen (once I learned how to spell his name correctly) is that he’s a mobile defenceman with good size and hockey sense. There’s that term again (hockey sense). He also makes few mistakes, which is always a good sign.
Finally, the last player chosen in the entire draft by the Los Angeles Kings was (remember this name) Nick Ebert from the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL.
We welcome all five draft picks of the Florida Panthers to the organization. Looking forward to seeing you at development camp.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick3, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, and Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg. Also, please join our Facebook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.