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Panthers Draft Preview

Thursday, 06.21.2007 / 8:51 PM ET / Team
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Panthers Draft Preview
In a conference room Thursday inside the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio, nearly two dozen members of the Panthers’ coaching, scouting and hockey operations staff watched film, traded notes and interviewed players eligible for this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft.
 
It was a long day, but one the Panthers hope will reap rewards this evening when the draft begins at 7 p.m. This year’s draft will stretch over two days, with the first round tonight and rounds two through seven Saturday. The Panthers, who hold the No. 10 pick in the first round, will begin Saturday morning with three picks in the second round.
 
While there is no consensus No. 1 pick come the weekend – no Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin jumping off the page and ready to make a splash in the NHL as early as the 2007-08 season – most experts believe the draft will yield a large number of NHL players over the coming years.
 
“There’s not a No. 1 guy everyone can agree on, but there’s a lot of depth guys,” said Luce, who’s entering his sixth season with the Panthers. “There’s a lot of character guys, a lot of third line guys.”
 
Center Kyle Turris of the Burnaby Express of the British Columbia Hockey League is ranked the No. 1 North American skater by Central Scouting Service. But Turris is only one of several players who could be chosen No. 1 by the Blackhawks. Right wingers Patrick Kane and Jakub Voracek, left winger James van Riemsdyk, defenseman Karl Alzner and center Sam Gagner could all be drafted within the first half dozen picks.
 
There are also several wild cards in this year’s draft, including Russia’s Alexei Cherepanov and Akim Aliu, born in Nigeria, raised in Kiev, Ukraine and who played last season for Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League.

The Panthers prepared for the weekend by pulling together staff from North America and Europe. Those in attendance included Luce, GM and coach Jacques Martin, assistant general manager Randy Sexton, director of player development Duane Sutter and special consultant Joe Nieuwendyk.
 
First round picks by the Panthers have included Stephen Weiss (2001), Jay Bouwmeester (2002), Nathan Horton (2003) and Rostislav Olesz (2004).
 
When asked by the media how the team would draft, Martin said; “We’ll be looking at the best player available. We’ll identify forwards and defensemen we’re comfortable with.”

With four picks in the first two rounds, the Panthers have several options. They could keep all four picks, move up late in the first round or move down in the second round.
 
Because many believe the draft is wide open after the first six or seven picks, there is a feeling there could be a lot of movement this weekend. With seven teams having no selection in the first round, teams could have needs they wish to fill this weekend.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 73 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 71 15 26 -2 41
J. Jokinen 75 8 33 -2 41
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 75 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 66 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 65 14 17 -1 31
B. Campbell 76 3 22 2 25
B. Pirri 43 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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