After taking Aaron Ekblad with the first overall pick adding more depth on the blue line, the Florida Panthers added another center to their surplus of young pivots in Jayce Hawryluk.
The 5’10” Brandon Wheat King scored 64-point in 59-games (24 G, 40 A) and is known for his physical, agitating style of hockey. TSN’s Craig Button described both Hawryluk and the pick before him, Brendan Lemieux, as ‘agitating players’ and furthered on Hawryluk by saying ‘Whatever he does he does it in the name of the team’.
His size will make you worry if he can translate his game to the next level, but Florida has never shied away from a player solely based on his size. Rocco Grimaldi was a second round pick and he stands a whole 5’6″ and Vincent Trocheck is another player under 6’0″ in the system, who ended up actually producing in the NHL when he got his opportunity.
He has a long road ahead of him, but his style of play will give him every opportunity to wear a Panthers jersey some day. The two players he patterns his game after has shown size means little – Brendan Gallagher and Brad Marchand.
Florida will not pick again until the fourth round, barring a trade, 92nd overall.
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