2010 NHL Draft
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Panthers Go Big With Gudbranson

Friday, 06.25.2010 / 7:40 PM ET / 2010 NHL Draft
Florida Panthers
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Panthers Go Big With Gudbranson
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Rank: #4 North American Skater
Team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Pos: D                     Shoots: Right
Height: 6'4               Weight: 195
Born: 1/7/92           Born In: Ottawa, ON
NHL Player: Shea Weber & Dion Phaneuf
Goal Celebration: "A little fist pump & point to the passer"
Movie: Billy Madison
Sport (other than hockey): Golf and baseball
  Gudbranson At Luncheon
  Gudbranson At Combine
  Gudbranson & Dad On Hockey Life

By Glenn Odebralski for floridapanthers.com

In what turned out to be of little surprise, the Panthers made 6'4 rearguard Erik Gudbranson the third overall pick in the NHL draft Friday night in Los Angeles.

Gudbranson, who along with fellow defenseman Cam Fowler, were the two players most draftniks said the Panthers would take after Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin went one-two to Edmonton and Boston respectively.

Looking for that big, Dion Phaneuf/Chris Pronger type player to go along with offensively gifted Dmitry Kulikov (drafted in first round last year), Panthers GM Dale Tallon decided to go with the 18-year old Kingston Frontenac (OHL).

Tallon, who was looking for a player with lots of character, size, speed and skill, found that in Gudbranson.

"I've never been squeezed so hard by my dad to be honest with you," said Gudbranson after the selection. "And my mom was just ecstatic. My dad broke down in tears. It was a great feeling and it's something I'm never going to forget."

The Ottawa, Ontario native posted 23 points (two goals) while posting 68 penalty minutes in just 41 games for Kingston as he missed time due to a sprained knee ligament and a bout with mononucleosis.

“Gudbranson to me is a guaranteed long-term NHLer," said NHL Central Scouting Director EJ McGuire. "In my opinion, Gudbranson is another Chris Pronger-type, what he brings that (Pronger) really didn't do much of, though, is he'll fight. He is some kind of tough. Chris Pronger is mean and will hit you; Gudbranson will hit you and fight you. Pronger is three inches taller than Gudbranson, so maybe Dion Phaneuf would be an even better comparison"

Right from the get go, the Panthers and Gudbranson seemed like a perfect fit. At the NHL Combine in Toronto earlier this month, the Panthers made the blueliner feel the most comfortable.

"I just met with them at the combine," said Gudbranson Thursday at the top prospect luncheon. "My interview with them was probably the easiest. They're a great bunch of guys. Dale Tallon really made it extremely easy for me, I was a little nervous going into the combine and he made it all the more fun."

Gudbranson did meet with the Panthers after the luncheon for one last meet-and-greet, thus cementing himself as the Panthers choice.

For Gudbranson, it can only be a dream come true as the defenseman thought that Florida could have been a very realistic choice to go, dating back to the Combine.

"I did my research on their team," said Gudbranson. "I felt that with Dmitry Kulikov there, I think I could be a good compliment to him on the backend."

What Gudbranson really liked about being selected by the Panthers was their new GM.

"You see what he did with the Chicago Blackhawks and winning a Stanley Cup and building that team from scratch" said Gudbranson. "I'm really excited to be a Florida Panther now and I feel that this is a team that's going in the right direction. There's no doubt in my mind that I want to be there."

With the Panthers only having newly acquired Denis Wideman on the blueline with a right-handed shot, adding Gudbranson's cannon right handed slap shot gives head coach Peter DeBoer better options on the backend.

But for Gudbranson, he knows that there's a lot of work left to accomplish if he wants to make the 2010-11 team. It just doesn't end with the draft.

"I'm going to go there and compete with the guys that are there and try to earn a spot as much as possible," said Gudbranson. "I'm going to go there and compete and if I have to beat out anybody I will."




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

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