Tonight at 8:00 P.M. you can catch the official lottery for the upcoming NHL Draft that will take place in June from New Jersey. The Florida Panthers who finished 30th in the NHL will have the best opportunity to be awarded with the number one overall pick with a 25% chance, followed by Colorado at 18.% and Tampa Bay at 14.2%. The worst that the Panthers can do is end up with the second pick, which still gives them a tremendous opportunity to draft a highly rated prospect, and someone who can almost immediately contribute to the franchise.
The lottery drawing can be seen live on NBCSN at 8:00 P.M., and will be rebroadcast on the NHL network at 9:00 P.M.. General manager Dale Tallon will be in attendance of course in hopes of obtaining that number one pick. Regardless, this will be the fourth draft that Tallon has participated in as Panthers GM, and all three of his four picks will have come in the top three. His first was in 2010 when he selected defenseman Erik Gudbranson with the number three pick. In 2011 Tallon and the Panthers selected Jonathan Huberdeau, who is in the running for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Last summer the Panthers selected defenceman Michael Matheson in the first round, 23rd overall.
The youth of the Florida Panthers has been rated as being the most promising of the 30 NHL teams, and with another top pick coming this summer, that will only add to that top billing. The only question that remains is who will the Panthers select with their pick. While many feel that if Florida has the first selection, Seth Jones an NHL readydefenceman from the Portland Winterhawks is the obvious choice. However, that may or may not be the case. Nathan MacKinnon a center andteammate Jonathan Drouin a left wing are also highly touted players, who could very easily be chosen as well.
Surely there’s going to be a great deal of speculation going forward on who the Panthers will pick, and will it be based on need, or will it be based on the best player available at the time of the selection. Jones could be very difficult to pass up if the Panthers have the first choice, however if they fall to the second, and Colorado moves to number one, then it’s either MacKinnon or Drouin.
The Florida Panthers will be hosting a Draft Party at Duffy’s Sports Grill in Plantation beginning at 7:30 P.M. on Monday.
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