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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.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 49 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 52 10 27 10 37
A. Barkov 42 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 52 10 25 12 35
V. Trocheck 52 17 16 4 33
R. Smith 52 16 15 11 31
B. Pirri 48 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 48 10 12 21 22
B. Campbell 52 4 16 17 20
N. Bjugstad 37 9 8 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

 
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