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2012 NHL Draft

Going For Speed

Panthers select three forwards, two defensemen at 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh.

Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 2:18 PM / 2012 NHL Draft
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Going For Speed
Fourth round pick Alexander Delnov meets Panthers GM Dale Tallon after being selected 114th overall. (Getty Images)

On what was a relatively calm draft weekend for the Panthers, Florida added five new players to their system following the close of the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh.

“I love the action but there wasn’t any,” said Panthers GM Dale Tallon following the close of the seventh round concerning the trade front. “Sometimes you’re hitting the drives and sometimes you’re being hit. This year it was just one of those years.

“We have got a lot of prospects. We’ve had a lot of prospects the last couple of years and we made the best. We had some good picks.”

Heading into the draft, Florida decided that speed would be one of the biggest assets they looked for as they tried to improve their already impressive stable of prospects. They succeeded very well in that category as all five players (two defensemen, three forwards) exude that quality.

“Dale really likes speed and in today’s game speed kills,” said Panthers Director of Scouting Scott Luce. “If you can combine that with size, even better, and if you can combine that with skill, that’s going to be where you can get better as an organization.”

Entering Day 2, the Panthers held four picks.

That dropped down one selection before the second round even kicked off as Florida decided to complete their trade with Philadelphia that brought in Kris Versteeg last July 1st. The Panthers had the option to give the Flyers their 2012 or 2013 second round pick. With no third round pick next year (traded to NY Rangers for Wojtek Wolski), Florida decided they would keep their 2013 second rounder.

“I didn’t want to go into next year’s draft with no second and no third,” said Tallon. “We felt this draft was a draft we could afford not to have a second in. Next year’s draft looks strong so we felt we wanted to have a full complement of picks next year.”

When the Panthers finally came on the clock in the third round, they reached out to the Western Hockey League to select center Steven Hodges of the Victoria Royals with the 84th overall selection. The recently turned 18-year old (May 5) finished seventh on his team in scoring as he posted 46 points (21-25-46) in 72 games and the Royals finished seventh in the WHL’s Western Conference.

The Yellowknife, NT native vastly improved from his first full year in the WHL to his second across the board.

“Steven is a player that comes to play,” said Luce who compares Hodge’s shiftiness in play to last year’s third overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau. “Every shift he competes. He’s a mid-size guy that has skill both with the puck and without the puck…We like his cerebral play.”

Hodges does come with some high hopes. He was the first round pick of the Chilliwack Bruins (who moved to Victoria for the 2011-12 season) back in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, going ninth overall.

“(He’s) is a talented kid. He’s a guy that might not had a lot of exposure across but this was his range (to take him in the NHL Draft).”

With their second selection of Day 2, Florida went to the Russian ranks in drafting Alexander Delnov 114th overall.

A bit of an unknown as he was unranked by Central Scouting, Delnov played for the Mytischi 2 team in the Russia-Jr league where the Panthers had tabs on him all season long. Where he made his impression to the rest of the league came at the Under-18 Tournament where he posted three points in six games this past April.

Former NHL scout and now ESPN insider Grant Sonier had this to say about Delnov following the Tournament: “Delnov has explosive skating, a solid work ethic with high-end skills He was a virtual unknown for me until watching this event.”

“This was one of the top-five, top-10 forwards at the Under-18 tournament this past April,” said Luce. “We know this kid inside out. He wants to come to North America and play and he’s a guy that we value.”

Delnov, who was in attendance and was extremely happy to be drafted by Florida, posted 22 points (11-11-22) in 47 games for Mytischi 2 of the Russia-Jr league this season.

“(I’m) really excited to be here,” said Delnov through the translation of Panthers scout Vadim Podrezov. “I’m very happy to be drafted by Florida. It’s a good young team.”

With their third pick of the day, Florida jumped to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to nab Francis Beauvillier with their sixth round pick, 174th overall. A forward who posted 23 goals in 67 games, the Sorel-Tracy, QC native brings a lot of speed to the equation.

Beauvillier was excited to be going to Florida to join recent QMJHL draft pick, the Saint John Sea Dogs captain.

“It’s a great place to go,” said Beauvillier. “(Jonathan) Huberdeau said that it was a great place to play.”

Florida would bump up their draft pick total to four for the day once again as they acquired Dallas’ seventh round pick (194th overall) for their own seventh rounder in the 2013 draft. There they took Jonatan Nielsen, a defenseman playing for Linkoping JR of the Swedish Jr League.

Ranked 83rd overall among European Skaters, Nielsen posted nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 38 games for the team.

“We still have the same plan in place that we had to this season,” said Tallon when asked about being targeted by other teams with the season the Panthers had. “We’ve got long term goals and we have a blueprint in place that we’re going to stick with.

“Basically developing young players, adding young players to our strong core that we have now and let us get better as we move forward.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 62 22 15 -8 37
J. Jokinen 61 6 28 -1 34
J. Huberdeau 59 9 24 2 33
A. Ekblad 62 9 23 8 32
B. Boyes 60 10 21 8 31
J. Jagr 58 11 18 -11 29
J. Hayes 53 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 62 3 19 3 22
A. Barkov 51 9 12 -6 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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