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Last Minute Preparations

Thursday, 06.19.2008 / 6:50 PM / 2008 NHL Draft
Florida Panthers
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
 
OTTAWA – In a room without a view, in the lower level of a hotel in the middle of this city, the Panthers’ scouting staff sat around a large conference table Thursday while going through their final preparation for this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft.
 
In the words of Scott Luce, the Panthers’ director of amateur scouting, it was a chance to “kick the tires one more time before the draft.”
 
In a city teeming with NHL rumors, including those on Evgeny Malkin and, yes, Olli Jokinen, Luce and the staff sat around a rectangular table, laptops in front of them, and spent the day interviewing draft prospects for the final time before the two-day event begins Friday at 7 p.m., at Scotiabank Place.
 
For the Panthers, the Entry Draft has been a major event in the team’s evolution. Under the direction of Luce, the Panthers have left the Draft with prospects David Booth, Nathan Horton, Rostislav Olesz, Michael Frolik and Michel Repik. And, for the past several years, the Panthers have also made huge deals at the Draft, including the acquisition last season of Tomas Vokoun.
 
The Panthers, who don’t have a pick this weekend until the second round (31st overall), are once again part of the rumors. Do they trade up? Trade down? Do they fill a need for a puck-moving defenseman here and now?
 
“I’ve talked with about a dozen general managers, but (about) nothing in particular,” said Panther GM Jacques Martin late Thursday afternoon. “There’s some interest, but nothing concrete. I think the key is being prepared for all kinds of scenarios.
 
“What I said from the beginning is if I can improve the hockey club, and our main focus has been trying to get a defenseman, I will. If we can’t, we have to look at free agency and the rest of the summer to achieve our goals. You hear a lot of teams are trying to make improvements, either moving up in the draft or using a pick to acquire a player. But I think sometimes those things happen either (Friday) or draft day (Saturday).”
 
And so it’s all part of the mix here in the capital city, where the Lightning are expected to kick off the proceedings Friday evening by making Steven Stamkos the first pick. After that? It’s anybody’s guess.
 
For Luce and his staff, it’s all about being ready whenever and wherever the Panthers select. On Thursday, from early morning to late in the day, a parade of prospects walked into the conference room to be questioned by Luce and members of his staff, including North American scouts Eric Ginnell, Paul Gallagher, Mike Yandle, Luke Williams and Craig Demetrick and European scouts Niklas Blomgren and Vadim Podrezov.
 
Players were asked a range of questions including where they need to improve, whether they were leaders on the ice, whether they had any problems off-ice, their summer training regiment, and how they could help the Florida Panthers.
 
Players were reminded of their performance at the NHL Combine. One player’s body fat percentage was too high. Another player talked being stronger mentally.
 
Finally, one player lacking a bit in size was asked his father’s height and weight. When asked if his father was in shape, the player responded, “No, he’s just fat.”
 
Friday’s first-round of the NHL Entry Draft can be seen Versus. Rounds two through seven can be seen on the NHL Network. FloridaPanthers.com will have news updates and video throughout Friday and Saturday.
UPCOMING EVENTS

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
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