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2015 Draft Heads To Sunrise

Strong draft class to find out where they will be selected at BB&T Center on June 26-27, 2015.

Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 10:10 AM ET / News
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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2015 Draft Heads To Sunrise
2015 potential top pick Erie forward Connor McDavid was tagged by the USA Today as the "LeBron James of hockey".

Hockey’s future will get a blast of some fun in the sun when the NHL Entry Draft returns to South Florida in 2015.

As announced by the league on Tuesday, the BB&T Center and Broward County will host the 2015 NHL Entry Draft over the June 26-27 weekend. The next wave of young stars, together with front office staffs, scouts, media and fans from around the league will descend on the home of the Panthers and take part in a slew of exciting draft-week activities.

“The Draft is where the future of the NHL begins to take shape, and the BB&T Center is an ideal setting in which to enjoy the excitement as we welcome our next generation of stars,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Vinnie Viola, Doug Cifu, Michael R Yormark, the Panthers' fans and the South Florida community will be outstanding hosts to our Clubs, our media and our incoming class of 2015 draftees.”

The arena was previously the site of the 2001 Draft which was highlighted by the first two overall selections, Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza as well as Florida’s selection of future Panthers points and games-played record-holder Stephen Weiss with the fourth overall pick.

"We are thrilled and honored to welcome the NHL Entry Draft back to the BB&T Center and Broward County,” said Panthers President & CEO Michael R. Yormark in a release. “The 2015 NHL Entry Draft will be a spectacular event for this community on a number of levels, bringing material and economic impact to, and shining the spotlight on, Broward County while also giving our fans a glimpse of the future stars of the National Hockey League.”

The 2015 draft class is already being discussed in hockey circles for the unique collection of talent, led by Canadian forward Connor McDavid, currently a member of the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. McDavid has been dubbed the “Next Big Thing” and was recently tagged in USA Today as being “the LeBron James of Hockey”.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain and 2005 first overall pick Sidney Crosby lavished perhaps the greatest praise of all on McDavid, saying “he reminds me of me”.

Joining McDavid on the 2015 watch list is American forward Jack Eichel who has posted more than two points a game with the US Development Program and like McDavid, recently competed at the World Juniors in Sweden in a tournament dominated by 19 and 20 year olds.

The popularity of the NHL Draft has skyrocketed in recent years, a far cry from inaugural 1963 event that was held in a single ballroom in Montreal. In years past, the Draft has been held in sold-out arenas and has been the focus of wall-to-wall television and media coverage.

"The excitement of this event is made even better by the economic impact of the Draft," said Nicki Grossman, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Vistors Bureau. "Nearly $10 million will be added to our economy and the world will get to see what summer is like here.”

The Panthers have enjoyed recent success at the draft table, using their selections to build a strong core that will be South Florida mainstays for years to come. The crop of young guns includes forwards Aleksander Barkov (2nd overall, 2013), Jonathan Huberdeau (3rd overall, 2011) and Nick Bjugstad (19th overall, 2010) together with defeseman Erik Gudbranson (3rd overall, 2010) as well as a number of current prospects rated in the upper echelon by many hockey observers. And the Panthers are still reaping the rewards from their first ever draft selection, as they used the top pick in the 1994 Draft to select their current captain -- five-time All Star and Olympic gold medalist, Ed Jovanovski.

The buildup to the 2015 Draft is sure to be exciting, and Panthers fans and the South Florida community certainly have much to look forward to as the energy builds.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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