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LIVE! From Montreal, It's The Draft ... Meet New Panther Dmitry Kulikov ... Islanders take John Tavares No. 1 ... Philly Gets Chris Pronger

Draft1 MONTREAL -- Happy Friday from the Center Bell, home of the Montreal Martins.

Jacques is in the house, as is Roberto Luongo. The former Florida goalie is sitting at the Vancouver draft table. He looks bored.

I may look bored too, but I'm not. No, no. I'm excited to be here. Hope we get some trades soon.

Am very interested in seeing who the Islanders take. If it is defenseman Victor Hedman (which I don't think it will be), I hear Tampa Bay will send its second pick to Toronto to take defenseman Brayden Schenn.

We'll see what happens. Enjoy Versus (err, TSN's) coverage tonight.

And stay tuned right here throughout the night...

-- Word is more than 15,000 have crammed into the Coliseum on Long Island to watch the Islanders make the first pick. If it's not John Tavares (which more and more people here are opining that it won't be) there may be a riot in Uniondale. Save the Marriott!

-- They just showed Vinny Lecavalier on the big screen, a video of him being drafted. Loud ovation from a pro-Montreal crowd that obviously wants him back. The Lightning may just send him home..

-- Got a look at the Panthers new third jersey. Just kidding, I didn't....

-- Gary Bettman booed lustily despite his attempt to speak French. And they misspelled his name on the big screen. Hello Garry...

-- Word on the street: Chris Pronger traded to the Flyers. Scratch them off the JayBo list...

-- Saw Mike Keenan and Steve Yzerman out in Montreal last night. They both send their best...

--The Isles are on the clock...lets see what they do...

-- It's John Tavares No. 1 to the Islanders...let the party begin on Long Island...

-- Now we have the Lightning (Hedman), Colorado (Matt Duchene), Atlanta and Los Angeles.

-- The place is pretty full here. Must be nothing to do in Montreal on a Friday night. OK, that's not true.

--Just heard a rumor that Jay has been dealt...haven't been able to confirm and have no other details...am working on it...

--Still just a rumor...no one with the Panthers will confirm anything...

--We're up to pick No. 10 with Edmonton...Panthers coming up soon at No. 14

-- The Islanders just traded up with Minnesota, now have the 12th pick...

--Scott Moore is still there, and the Panthers are on the clock...

AND TAKE Dmitry Kulikov with the 14th overall pick...the kid played at Drummondville and is here...will have more after we speak with him...Big kid...

OK, on tight deadline here, so this is what I wrote regarding Florida's draft so far:

BY GEORGE RICHARDS

grichards@MiamiHerald.com


MONTREAL – For the first time in years, the Panthers didn't make a blockbuster deal at the NHL Draft.

That big trade still could be forthcoming, but for the moment, Florida just handled its draft like most other NHL teams and went about building for the future. A potential trade for the negotiating rights to All-Star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is said to be in the works, something Florida could swing Saturday when the second round kicks off.

On Friday, with no trade to announce and the 14th overall pick, the Panthers took Dmitry Kulikov, an 18-year-old defenseman whom scouting director Scott Luce said may just compete for a roster spot when the Panthers hold training camp in a few months. If Kulikov doesn't make the Panthers – an organization deep with defensemen as it is – he will likely return to play with Drummondville of the Quebec junior league.

As the draft was held in Montreal, the Panthers received loud applause when they selected Kulikov, a native of Lipetsk, Russia.

''I came here to improve my game, learn a new style of game. Everything was new, the country, the style of play,'' said Kulikov, who left his family behind in Russia when he decided to come to Quebec to improve his game. ''This was a closer step to the NHL for me. I'm an offensive defenseman who never forgets my responsibility in my own zone. I'm defense first but if I see a chance, I can do it.''

Luce was especially high on Kulikov, saying he is projected to quarterback the power play. Kulikov had a strong rookie season with Drummondville, scoring 12 goals with 50 assists in 57 games. But in training camp, he's going to have plenty of competition for a roster spot with Florida expecting to give plenty of opportunity to more seasoned players like Jason Garrison and Keaton Ellerby.

The competition doesn't seem to worry Kulikov.

''My goal is to play in the NHL next year,'' he said. ''We'll see what's going on. I love the hard work. .-.-. To make an NHL team you have to be better than someone else. That's my goal, to be better and make the NHL team this year.''

Added Luce: ''[Coach] Pete DeBoer is going to be pleasantly surprised in what we have packaged here for him in training camp. He's going to challenge for a spot.''

The Panthers took a gamble on Kulikov as Russian players have been increasingly returning to play professionally in the rival Continental Hockey League. Luce says Kulikov making the move to Canada to play junior hockey shows his commitment to playing in the NHL as Kulikov says he and his agent decided to make that move so more NHL scouts could see him play. Kulikov, who speaks clear English, adds that learning the North American game was also a reason for his big move.

''He's mature beyond his years, a very worldly young man,'' said Luce. ''His adjustment to North America was very quick and that speaks to his character. This guy can rush the puck, run the power play and is good defensively. We did extensive due diligence on this, with his coaches here and with his coaches in Russia. He's a very motivated young man to come to North America, and when he turns pro, bring his family to North America.''

The biggest news involving the Panthers at this year's draft was that the team didn't move Bouwmeester's negotiating rights. Florida knows it won't sign the All-Star defenseman as he is due to become a free agent on July 1. The Panthers had been in talks with Philadelphia, but those ended when the Flyers made a huge move in trading for Chris Pronger.

'We're going to take our time and do things in an orderly fashion,'' Sexton said prior to the draft's start. ''We're going to see what happens. Tonight's only the first round. A lot of guys I talked to are not interested in moving their first round pick. I think that's because of the economic times and the cap being deeply rooted. There was no internal deadline, no yikes! if we don't get it done by 7 o'clock.''

Bouwmeester's agent has said his client will wait until July 1 to sign with a team, although acting general manager Randy Sexton said Friday that Bouwmeester's agent had given him a list of teams Bouwmeester would be interested in.

''They were quite anxious to speak to other teams,'' Sexton said, adding he hadn't spoken to Bouwmeester's agent in more than a week. ''He gave us a list before, a clear picture of his criteria. A couple teams on the list met that criteria then but don't know. For us, it would make sense for us to move him to a team where we think he would like to go to.''

Comments

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Any word on J-Bo moving before the 1st round is over?

Terrible deal by Philly - what are they thinking? They give up Lupol who is signed thru 2013 and Sbisa, who was their #1 pick in 2008 and a promising defenseman, plus 2 first round picks for a guy who will cost them $6.25 million and you only get him for one year as he is a UFA after the upcoming season.

I think Philly got hosed!

And now the stage is set for Anaheim to go after Bouwmeester. Perfect location on the west coast, a contending team and he could become their franchise d-man for a long time to come.

What was Philly thinking? They traded the farm for a guy who will be a UFA after next season. I guess they get Lupul's salary off the books now.

Work on it George, I want to get dinner and I can't leave this stinkin computer. Hurry!

as Randy Saxton said no reason to rush as a team interested in Bouwmeester is no longer interested way to go Saxton maybe he should be out of the league like he was until JM the GM brought him in

Your latest update has me hitting refresh 18 times a minute... whats up GR??

looks like the flyer trade made them react

One rumor floating around is J-Bo's rights to Calgary for Cammalleri's rights and a pick.

Did the Bouwmeester rumor fizzle? Waiting until their pick to announce anything? If Buffalo doesn't take Moore, is that who the Panthers are locked in on?

I didn't get the rumor from a great source, that's why I didn't go crazy with it...and I think Moore is Florida's guy if he is there...lets see what the Sabres do...

Shows what we know... everyone and their mother was saying Moore to the Panthers... let's hope Kulikov at least decides to stay in the country long enough to play in the NHL... sigh

allegedly has a 2 yr contract in the KHL, should be interesting to see if we can sign him

Panthers chose dimitri kulikov

Great choice Scott!!!!!!

Your scouting is disgusting. Moore is the better dman. Panthers are getting laughed at once again.

Nice! BPA! A top 10 guy from the rankings. Good choice.

No one is laughing at Florida for taking Kulikov. he was projected to go in the top 10 by most of the mock drafts, and definitely ranked ahead of Moore. We didn't take a guy 10-15 spots below his projection (Islanders). We didn't take a forward with our obvious lack of depth at defence. Nothing wrong with that pick (as long as we can sign him...)

Why isn't Bouwmeester traded yet? Do they really wanna lose him for nothing? If a 5th round pick is all we are getting then just deal him already. I'm tired of this, he's not signing so get rid of the guy.

Such a joke.

You don't know what you are talking about Brian. Kulikov is a great player. He was the key to Drummondville getting to the Memorial Cup final. He's smart, plays North American hockey, has a great shot and is tough as nails. The comparison to Gonchar is pretty apt. If he doesn't go to the KHL, it's a great pick. And notice how Moore wasn't taken in the next two picks after the Panthers.

agreed with on the bouwmeester front, enough of this he's dealt then its falling apart bull

also, seems as if the panthers don't know what position kulikov plays, or at least yormark doesnt.

good pick, though.

Bouwmeester isn't traded yet because his agent has said they would prefer to wait for July 1st and make their own deal in the open market. Remember that the only thing the Panthers can trade is the right to negotiate with Bouwmeester. And based on what his agent has said, that might not have any value. Still early, so anything can happen, but don't bet on it.

yea bouw and his agent screwed the Panthers. I only wish the absolute worst for Bouwmeester the rest of his career.


I thought we have taken Rundblad but Kulikov was the BPA so credit the Panthers' brass for sticking to their word that they would take the BPA.

Bouw and his agent haven't helped the Panthers, but come on... we knew this was the likelihood when we didn't trade him in March. We kept him for the push for the playoffs knowing he was gone in July. Trading his rights was a long shot, and still might be done. It was doubtful that the Panthers were getting a 1st round pick for him anyway, and the rest of the draft is tomorrow, so there's still time.

no JM screwed the Panthers, Bouwmeester and his agent have said all year that they were going to test the market, it was JM and his assistant Randy Saxton who decided to not do anything when they had value, then Saxton over plays the market and says no rush, then he loses leverage as the flyers trade for Pronger, just look what the flyers gave up for Pronger and think that their offer at the trade deadline was probably pretty close for Bouwmeester,


JM should of traded Bouwmeester (this is not hindsight I said this all along because Bouwmeester said he might sign with Florida but he was going to test the market first).

As far as drafting Kulikov if they can sign him then it was a great pick, if they can't then it is just another asset that this team has nothing to show for it

Letting a former #3 overall pick walk is a huge step back. This team will not come close to the playoffs, so consider us for the hall of shame for having the longest running losing season's streak out of any team in hockey.

Yormark, the idiot, called said Kulikov was a great pick. He then called him a forward. Why does this moron even talk? Doesn't he have some more advertising to do?

Yorkman along with Cohen are bums. They have no idea what this sport even is. Cohen last year admitted he knew very little about hockey.

uMMMMMM YA THINK? ?????

8 seasons of rebuilding and losing all of your stars is all the proof you need.

Evildreams, is that you???

I'm done with whining about JayBo. I said trade him last summer, period, that's it.

Now we'll go after someone like a Leopold or Morris or we can trade for Liles from the Avs, who we've traded with before. Avs are looking to lower their salary cap hit so Liles is the smooth skating offensive defenseman that I think is an adequate replacement for Jay.

When is Bouw going to be traded already????

Dreger says not tonight unless something unusual happens.

It's amazing that they wouldn't trade him. I'd trade him for a bag of pucks, at this point. He's not staying! Hello!?!?!?

It takes 2 to make a trade... I'm sure Sexton would love to trade J Bo's rights. Unfortunately, if other teams are just going to wait until July 1 and throw money at him without giving up any of their picks or players, there's not much Florida can do... hence "unrestricted" free agent...

I'm not sure I'd call the Panthers "deep in defensemen." Only McCabe, Ballard, and Allen (who missed last season) are under contract, right? Even if Skrastins (an UFA) and Eminger (RFA) come back, that's only 5, and Eminger didn't exactly look like a top 4 kind of guy at the end of last year. Ellerby and Garrison are promising, but Kulikov should have a chance to crack the roster, unfortunately...

Philly really didn't overpay if you look at their roster. They got a major leader for a YOUNG defense, with half of their regular six all 25 or younger. He'll be a GREAT influence on Parent and Coburn, and Philly has the depth in the minors to easily replace Lupul. Ironic tho that its almost the EXACT same trade that brought Pronger to Anaheim from Edmonton with Lupul, a defenseman, and two first round picks all involved. Smart trade for Philly as it brings leadership, a little durability, and the continuation of the Bully's edge. Sbisa and the picks were great for Anaheim, but Lupul doesn't add that much, unless Selanne doesn't return.

Panthers goin with BPA on defense to supplement a team lacking A. depth and B. talent on defense was a smart pick.

Bouwmeester has no trade value, no matter the Pronger situation, because of the words out of his agent's mouth. No matter how eager Sexton or Torrey might be to deal him, Bouwmeester isn't worth more than future considerations after they said they were gonna wait until the first regardless of who has his rights.

is it true that yormark told luce to bring up a sign to the podium with the pillar partners emblems on it... or was it just yormark's wishful thinking?

actually Yormark wanted Luce to say this draft pick is brought to you by (pick any sponsor you want) and then mini stanley was suppose to bring out the jersey

Don't blame him, I dont know how long he's been a Panther but what did they do to get better until this year??? not much, so don't blame him. I am usually negative on here, but why not trade away some high priced under producing guys blow the thing up and start from scratch. And for everybody who is like, I cant wait until his first game back at the BAC, don't worry, because that guy probably won't be there and im sure there will only be 12,000 tops in the place..

Thanks

George, Poutine is ok, but go to Au Pied Du Cochon and have the French Fries Fried in Duck Fat..

Tee Spot

the difference between an organization that knows what it is doing and an organization that does not realize that this is a process.

The Ducks trade Pronger who has one year left on his contract and they say the following:

Let me say this -- Murray did very, very well. He recouped a ton in the deal, and he believed that kind of value wasn't going to be there forever for Pronger, who has one year left on his deal. The time was now.

"The offers we were getting, where we were going as an organization, if we let it go too much further we probably would not have had the chance to recoup some of those young things," Murray said. "We couldn't get by Detroit [in the second round] because we didn't have enough top-six forwards. Now, we got a top-six forward in Joffrey Lupul."

"We got a young defenseman that I love in [Luca] Sbisa and the first-round picks. Sure, we took a bit of a step back here … but at some point in time in Anaheim, we were going to play without Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. That's a fact. It's not a fun day to look forward to, but it's a fact."

Compared to the Panthers, we are going to wait and see what happens and now they get nothing

Since Cohen has owned this team we have traded or loss the following:

Pavel Bure, Roberto Luongo, Jay Bouwmeester and Jokinen.

In return we now have Keith Ballard.

Then we overpaid with multiple draft picks for Vokoun just to make up for the mistake of trading Luongo.

The Ducks will be closer to a stanley cup contender because they are proactive and not reactive.

We need an owner with a clue, a GM who will be aggressive and address the long term needs of this team.

Relying on Lazy Nate and undersized Weiss will not work;

Horton will be the next superstar out the door, by next summer, and a large part of that will be the fans pulling another Jovo on him.

While a majority of the problems here have been blamed on Cohen (he is an idiot when it comes to hockey), people fail to realize it is due to believing in the hype of Keenan and then Martin, and anyone who blames the only other man here during that tenure faisl to see where the trend truly lies.

Bouw is gone!

GOOD RIDDANCE

Horton needs to turn into a superstar before anybody starts worrying about said superstars departure. This comment is brought to you by Marooooooooony

Clash:

you are correct, Cohen believed in the hype of Keenan and Martin, he should have listened to Torrey at the beginning when he bought the team and had Chuck Fletcher as the GM, there would have been a big difference.

Remember that Bure was traded to the Rangers as Keenan was hoping to leave Florida and go back to the Rangers, for his efforts, Cohen lets him go and keeps Dudley who was here because of Keenan. He then brings Keenan back because Martin wanted him here. Keenan quickly realizes that Martin's style will not work in the post lockout NHL and tries to fire Martin but Cohen stops this, then they run Luongo out of town and Bouwmeester is watching all this and asks why would he want to stay here.

With little money spent on the development of players we are way behind the eight-ball.

look at all the teams that have past us since the lockout and you wonder what we have been doing the last 9 years other then relying on past mistakes

Yes, Cohen is an idiot and his going for the big name has left this team in the dust for the past 9 years with no end in sight as to having a team that can win the cup.

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