Florida Panthers History With The First Overall Pick


With the NHL Entry Draft less than 3 days away the Florida Panthers are the talk of the draft. Will Tallon trade the 1st overall pick to get a couple of veteran NHL’s or will he keep it and draft for the future?  Friday we will get the answers we seek.

The Cats have owned the first overall pick three prior times in their history. I am going to look at what the Cats did with those picks, how the players that were picked did in the NHL, and my opinion of it was a good move or not. So lets dive right in.

The first time the Panthers owned the first overall pick was back in 1994. With that pick they selected Ed Jovonovski. Jovo-Cop (a nicked name he was given for being a tough, no messing around D-man) was a crucial part to the Panthers early success as he help led them to the Stanley Cup Finals during his rookie season of 1995-96. He would go on to play four season for the Cats before being traded to Vancouver in the blockbuster trade that brought Pavel Bure to the Panthers. Jovo would play seven years for the Canucks before heading to the desert to play seven years for the Coyotes. Jovonovski would return back to the Panthers in the summer of 2011 and help them back to the playoffs after missing them for the last 11 years. I believe that this pick was one of the best picks in the franchisees history.

In 2002 the Cats owned the first overall pick and all experts picked them to pick the highly coveted Dman Jay Boumester. But than GM Rick Dudley had to make things interesting as he trade the pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 3rd overall pick. With the pick the Blue Jackets picked left winger Rick Nash. The Panthers also received the right to trade for Columbus 1st overall pick in 2003. (which they did not need seeing as they got the first overall). Atlanta was also involved with the Cats as they gave Florida two draft picks to guarantee that the Panthers could pick Bouwmester. The Thrashers picked goalie Kari Lehtonen. Then head coach Mike Keenan said “We should not have done that…Jay would have been number 1 if we’d just kept the pick.” Bouwmester would play six years for the Panthers before being traded to Calgary where he played for four years before going to the Blues. I believe that the Cats should have picked up Rick Nash instead. After losing Bure the Cats were hurting for offense and could have really used him.

The last time the Cats held the 1st overall pick before this year was in 2003. As in the previous season the Cats trade the pick this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They also sent the 73rd pick to the Pens and got the 3rd overall pick, 55th, and Mikael Samuelson. The Pens picked Marc-Andre Fleury with the first overall pick and the Cats took Nathan Horton. Fleury would led the Pens to a Stanley Cup championship. Horton would have six very good years as a Panther but never sniffed the playoffs with them so he was trade to the Bruins during the summer of 2010 and would lead them to a Stanley Cup win. The Panthers made the right choice in picking Horton over Fleury. We had a very strong goalie in Roberto Luongo and they needed scoring more than anything.

With what history is showing us I believe that Tallon will trade the pick and I am 100% behind that. I want to win NOW!! I don’t want to wait another few years for this kid to develop. Trade it for some veterans and get us back into the playoffs next year. What do you guys think? Let me know and as always thank you for reading.