KANATA, Ontario -- The second day of the NHL Draft kicked off Saturday morning at Scotiabank Place with the Florida Panthers and Scott Luce (the team's director of amateur scouting) making the first pick.
And Florida selects goalie Jacob Markstrom, an 18-year-old from Brynas, Sweden who is already playing in a men's pro league in his native country.
He was a top 20 guy who slipped down to pick No. 31. If he lives up to potential, could be a steal. Could also say that about all the fellows who got picked here in the past 24 hours.
The Panthers were thrilled to get this guy, a goalie who they think can eventually become a No. 1. He's going to spend the next two seasons playing in the Swedish Elite League (he split time with the junior team in Brynas and the Elite team) and beat former Panther/probable future Hall of Famer Ed Belfour twice in meetings there in Sweden.
Scott Luce, who leads the Panthers amateur scouting, said the Florida table all crossed their fingers that Markstrom wouldn't be taken in the first round on Friday night. Detroit, picking 30th on Friday, did go with a goalie, opting for Thomas McCollum out of Guelph of the OHL.
"I could hardly contain myself on the bus back to the hotel,'' Luce said, knowing the Panthers were going to get a good goalie when they returned to the arena on Saturday.
-- The Panthers made a small move Saturday, giving Phoenix back the No. 49 pick to move up to No. 46. Florida also surrendered a fourth round pick in 2009 for that honor.
With the selection, the Cats go with another defenseman, grabbing Colby Robak from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Phoenix, it should be noted, grabs another of the Staal brothers, taking right winger Jared Staal.
-- Spoke with Markstrom after the pick, says he was just happy to be taken so early on Saturday. Projected to be a first round pick, Markstrom was the third goalie taken, and says he's followed the Panthers quite a bit, even bringing up John Vanbiesbrouck.
Didn't get to speak to Robak. He left Ottawa early this morning to attend his high school graduation.
Some people need to get their priorities in order.
-- Panthers make their third pick of the day, and I know this is going to surprise some people, but it's a defenseman. With the 80th overall selection, Florida takes Adam Comrie, a native of Ottawa who grew up in Arlington, Virginia.
Ranked the 44th North American skater by central scouting, Comrie played for Saginaw of the OHL.
-- In the fourth round, the Cats look for some offense, taking left winger A.J. Jenks from Plymouth (Weiss, Campbell and DeBoer's old team) of the OHL. A Detroiter (like Booth), Jenks ended up ranked No. 50 North American skater by central scouting; at midseason, he was 20. Jenks, pictured at right, first picked up the game of hockey the inline way, and his skating needs work. The Panthers are confident he'll get it down.
-- The final pick of the day came in the seventh round, Florida getting yet another defenseman. Matt Bartkowski, a 20-year-old, was taken. Big Bart, pic below, will be going to Ohio State this fall and should be quite mature when he's ready to make the jump to the pros.
Florida hopes he'll be ready to make some sort of an impact and if not, hey, it was a seventh rounder.
-- Onto the Panthers of today, spoke to coach Pete DeBoer and he said he'll be back in Sunrise on Tuesday. Says he's going to meet with JM and hopefully finalize the coaching staff by the end of next week. Don't expect to see Guy Charron return, but it appears Mike Kitchen and Pierre Groulx will be back. DeBoer is going to bring in one of his guys to join the staff, and it looks like Charron is the odd man out. Too bad, one of the really good guys in this business. I will miss goofing with Guy during the season. Class guy.
-- Martin wouldn't speculate on what's next for the roster, although there is bound to be some changes. He wouldn't say if he plans to buyout the final year of Jozef Stumpel's contract or allow him to come back next season. Stumpel was beset by injuries last season, one year removed from getting 57 points off 23 goals.
-- More, as always, in tomorrow's edition of The Miami Herald. We had a ton of stuff online today regarding the Olli trade and will have more tomorrow. Come on back, ya hear?
-- The Herald files from Saturday:
Other Jokinen copy: