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2010 NHL Draft
 
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Thrice Is Nice

Saturday, 06.26.2010 / 12:53 AM ET / 2010 NHL Draft
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Thrice Is Nice

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By Glenn Odebralski for floridapanthers.com

Talk about a busy day. Two trades, three new draft picks and the addition of two new forwards. And that's just day one.

Some teams were ecstatic getting one pick in the first round. But for the Florida Panthers, it was like Christmas three times over.

Thanks to a trade that sent defenseman Keith Ballard to the Vancouver Canucks along with Victor Oreskovich, the Panthers garnered a third first round pick to go along with the third and the 15th. The Cats also grabbed forwards Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner in the transaction.

After selecting Erik Gudbranson with the third overall pick, Florida would trade with Los Angeles, getting the 19th and 59th picks for the 15th.

With the 19th selection, the Panthers took Minnesota's Mr. Hockey 6'4 center Nick Bjugstad.

And with the final first rounder, 25th overall, Florida took Moose Jaw forward Quinton Howden.

Got that all?

"It's a big turning point in our franchise," said Panthers GM Dale Tallon. "A very successful day at the draft and we got some good players that fill some needs that are still young, are still good players and I'm very elated with what happened today.

"It was a wonderful day."

All three players taken exemplify what Tallon has been looking for. Character, size, skill, speed and more character.

Gudbranson was thrilled with being taken by the Panthers.

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

"A real attraction is having Dale Tallon there. You see what he did with the Chicago Blackhawks and winning a Stanley Cup and building that team from scratch. 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."

The 6'4 blueliner is seen as a Chris Pronger/Dion Phaneuf type player.

"Impeccable character," said Tallon of Gudbranson. "Good speed. Good size. Tremendous toughness. All those things really got a lot of character and will make us a tougher team to play against."

Trading with Los Angeles, Tallon was able to still get the player they wanted while picking up an extra second (the team's fourth) along the way.

The Panthers then got one of the best high school products in the United States, taking Bjugstad.

The 6'4 188 lb center tore up his high school league recording 29 goals and 31 assists in just 25 games.

"I have to give Scott Luce and Erin Ginell and the staff kudos because I relied on them really heavily and we did a lot of things that we planned, came to the table ready, very prepared and were able to accomplish the plan and then add an additional pick and still get a player we thought would get at 15 at 19," said Tallon.

"I'm definitely excited," said Bjugstad of being drafted. "The nerves have kind of gone away since it just happened so I'm really excited about going to the Florida Panthers and hopefully I can improve these next couple of years and play for them."

While the deal was technically agreed to earlier in the night, the Ballard to Vancouver deal wasn't official until right before the 25th selection. Picking up Howden with the third first of the night, the Panthers finished out the day with yet another high character kid.

"It honestly didn't matter to me where I went," said Howden. "I wanted to go to a team that wanted me. My whole goal was to get drafted and this is one of the best experiences of my life so I'm just trying to enjoy it right now.

I had some good interviews with them so obviously it was kind of a dice that was being roled for me. They made a few trades in moving up in the draft so I was excited and I'm really fortunate right now."

For the Panthers, the reason Ballard was the focal point of the trade with Vancouver was due to his value. And with 10 teams pitching trade ideas at the Panthers, it just so happened that the return for the defenseman was substantial.

"I talked about assets that were tradeable and you can't trade guys that aren't wanted," said Tallon. "They're valuable assets and we were able to fill a lot of needs and sometimes you have to make those deicisions to fill up the depth chart and go in the right direction."

With day one in the books, there's still a lot more that Tallon wants to accomplish before the Draft is done.

"I can't be satisfied," said Tallon. "How can you be satisfied? We have to turn the corner and we have to get playoff ready and we have got to start challenging and make it difficult for teams to play against."

But for the new GM, the three kids drafted were a good start to rebuilding the franchise and getting them back on track.

"We want people that really care, are passionate and will compete hard every night and have our fans be happy with the effort every night," said Tallon. "I think we addressed that today and we're going to continue to add the character, the size, the skill and the passion so that we can be successful in a hurry."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 53 17 23 13 40
J. Huberdeau 56 11 29 10 40
J. Jokinen 56 11 27 12 38
V. Trocheck 56 17 18 2 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 56 18 16 11 34
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
A. Ekblad 52 11 13 17 24
B. Campbell 56 5 18 20 23
N. Bjugstad 41 9 10 -5 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 14 5 .924 2.29
A. Montoya 8 4 1 .926 2.06

 
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