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Panthers Headed to the Draft: Florida Set to Pick Third

MurrayPanthers general manager Randy Sexton said he took a lucky trinket with him to the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto.

Because it didn't work, he wouldn't divulge what it was.

But hey, it wasn't unlucky either. The Panthers started and ended the lottery in third place and didn't drop.

Of the 14 teams jockeying for position Tuesday, no team moved up or down. The first 14 picks in the draft – barring trades – will mirror the NHL standings from the 2009-10 season.

Edmonton will become the first Canadian team to pick first overall since Ottawa did so in 1996 – a few months after firing Sexton as its general manager. Boston, which acquired Toronto's first round pick this past offseason for 30-goal scorer Phil Kessel, will pick second.

“It would have been fabulous to move up,'' said Sexton, “but it would have been demoralizing to move down emotionally. It could have been better, but we are happy where we are with the third pick.''

The Panthers have picked third overall in past seasons. In both 2002 and 2003, the Panthers won the lottery and had the top pick. Both times the team traded down. In 2002, Florida picked Jay Bouwmeester with the third pick. The following year, Nathan Horton was taken with No. 3.

Florida hasn't had such a high pick since. In 2005, the team took Rostislav Olesz with the seventh selection.

Sexton said the Panthers would have kept the top pick this time around if they had won the lottery, but he is leaving his options open with No. 3. With forwards Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin almost assuredly going 1-2, the Panthers are in a rare position to control what happens in the draft after that.

The Panthers could possibly move up to second (Edmonton says it's keeping the top pick) in a trade with the Bruins. Sexton already traded for an additional pair of second round picks by trading Dennis Seidenberg and Jordan Leopold at the deadline. One of the second round picks Florida has came from the Bruins.

Sexton could also trade down in the draft and pick up even more picks for later on depending on how deep the Panthers figure the pool to be.

“We have a number of options available to us,'' said Sexton. “We are in a real good position to be in.''

-- Sexton said the Panthers cannot begin their negotiations with goalie Jacob Markstrom – Florida's first pick of the second round in 2008 – until after the upcoming World Championship tournament in Germany. Markstrom is currently a candidate to represent Sweden at the Worlds, and if he was left off the roster, Florida could begin negotiations then.

Markstrom is considered the Panthers goalie of the future – although he is expected to start next season in the minors as he adjusts to the North American style of play.

-- Team president Michael Yormark said Tuesday that the confetti celebration at the end of Sunday's season finale was not meant in any way to honor the way the Panthers finished the year. The Panthers ended up finishing last in their division for the first time in franchise history and missed the postseason for an NHL record-tying ninth straight season.

Yormark said the confetti and streamers were meant to reward those fans who have stuck with the team during some pretty lean years.

“Our fans are unbelievable,'' Yormark said. “We all know it was a disappointing season.''


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There are better and more appropriate ways of rewarding fans. Showering players with confetti at the end of such a poor season is beyond tacky. Someone should be fired for such a prank. Preferably the man defending this latest atrocity.

Third pick overall is good, but only the top two seem like a sure thing.

Guess we must hope the scouting department will get this one right. Unlike those other high draft picks; which may not have been total busts, but certainly not the boons that the franchise drummed them up to be either.

if we trade T-Vo, we can pick up Turco. He was good for Dallas this year.

We need to put a package together to get the # pick from Boston

I know Booth is "untouchable" but we dont know whats gonna happen with him cause of his concussions and all.

Maybe we could send Booth and the #3 overall pick for the #2nd or even Booth and our 2 second rounders for it.

I don't think the Panthers will move up. The Boston GM already mentioned trying to trade up with EDM depending on their pick. The only room that leaves for the Panthers is if Edmonton and Boston want the same player and both DON'T want the other. Edmonton will take the one they want and Boston might try to fleece the Panthers or someone else in a trade for their pick. I think Boston would want the Panthers' first, both high seconds, a prospect, and the right to swap firsts next draft.

Depending on the prospect, it still might be a good move. The Panthers need first-class players and they need them in October 2010, not October 2013.

Either way, all eyes on Sexton now. He has the third overall pick, two early second rounders, and a blue chip in Vokoun with which to play. And this is all before free agency.

I know this pisses people off--but ever since Booth got knocked out the second time (at least it wasn't Ballard this time!), I saw his future plagued with injuries. Anyone think he is moveable (along with Olesz as a package)? I never saw him as the 'face' of the franchise. Would that interest Edmonton or Boston???

By the way, Who else has no trade clauses other than T-Vo, Caber, and Weiss?

Yormark again shows that he is an used car salesman by defending the confetti.

Sexton before the draft made another gaffe or gave another indication. He was asked: the panthers traded the first overall pick 3 times, what are the chances if the panthers win the lottery that they will keep the pick.

Sexton's response: "highly unlikely"

stunned, the reporter asked him, do you mean highly unlikely you would trade the pick and he said yeah.

The start of Ottawa becoming a playoff team was when they fired Sexton prior to the 1996 draft.

Hire a President of hockey operations before it is too late so we have a chance to start the rebuild this year instead of next year.

Hall and Seguin are the top two, but Brett Connolly would have been right up there had he not been injured. I'd say thats the best bet for the panthers.

I agree with Ned. Connolly will be playing at the World Under-18 Championship in Belarus this month. Sexton should be there watching him.

Connolly has hip problems, that is not good for a hockey player.

As far as Sexton going to watch, I doubt it, they usually watch the video and not in person

It's not necessarily how they scout, but more making the proper pick... Buffalo has a solid group of young talent, and they use video to scout... So my point is we have a group here for probably a DECADE, and the whole organization lacks DEPTH.... I'm sure some of it wasn't their fault, but if I were the new owners, I would seriously start there to ask questions for those guys to justify their positions...

Maybe they got overruled by Dudley, Keenan, and JM on some of their picks, but Kulikov kind of landed in their laps by default... Booth in the 2nd round has to be their best pick... J-Bo, Horton, and Weiss were probably logical for their position back then, but there's been a whole DECADE with a lot of other missed opportunities...

Why don't they draft for CHARACTER? Off the top of my head, the only character guys they've had in the past decade would be Mellanby, Sillinger, Nieuwendyk, Roberts,etc.. And most of those guys were in the final years of their career, so they're not looking to do the things that a true LEADER needs to do...
They're on EZ street in their waning years hoping to catch on for a playoff run, living in a retirement climate... Then they come here and realize what a mess it is, and bail out as quickly as they can...

This team needs a true LEADER, probably still in his 20s, that will stay at least 3-5 years and call out some of these softies collecting paychecks.... The problem is you have to be able to interview these guys and see some of this potential as a SCOUT, so 4 or 5 years down the road, one of these guys develop in your system... He doesn't even have to have the most talent, just a guy that can carry his own... So over the years, even if the scouts got overruled by the GM in the 1st or 2nd rounds, they should've been able to find a character guy or 2 in the later rounds... That only seems logical... So as many of us have been saying for too many years, SCOUTING has been getting a free pass for far too long...

There are some good point-a-game players in the top ten potential draft pics. Connolly was tearing it up before his hip injury and coasted into his current position on that basis. Whatever the Panthers do, they need to draft offensive offense. No offensive defenseman. No defensive forward. They need a guy to beat goalies and fill nets. Center, if possible (sorry, Weiss).

When is the trade deadline lifted? Will it be possible to move Horton before his no-trade kicks in on the first of july? I don't agree with it, I'd prefer the Panthers keep him, but on this team no one should be untouchable.

I don't trust anyone in this regime to do the right thing. If we can't trade up, we better not draft Fowler, and we should not be taking chances on Connolly with his hip issue.

I agree with Jim H and Slapshot1106, we have to get some offence and we need it in 2011, not 2013.

Also, we need a young leader someone is their late 20's.
Please stop with the journeyman forward who might have won a cup as a fourth liner.

Booth is a gamble right now and Sexton is talking as though they are counting on him again for 35 goals. That's IF he stays healthy and IF he plays the same way.

Sorry Randy, but that would be two years in a row of trying to get blood out of a rock, which is what you thought you could do this year at the beginning of the season.
Players were counted on to duplicate 2008-2009 numbers and guess what? It didn't work.

We have to stop trying to put a team together to finish 8th. At some point we have to plan on challenging for the cup.

Weiss, is moveable, someone will want him. He's priced right for a second line center so move him out. Rhino, Vokoun and a pick for a young center and forward from somewhere.
There are a zillion possibilities, but I think Randy's head will explode if he tries to think of more than two.

By the way, Stillman for god sakes has a no trade clause! Thanks Jacques!

FANS F (for actually purchasing tickets)

Confetti? hahaha reward the fans??? hahahaha how about you bring in good players and build a winner. Thats the only way ull reward the fans.

Keep on bringing more advertisments, keep on with the ice dancers, this team this organization is enough of a joke, lets make them and even bigger joke!!!

I have a feeling Sexton is going to trade that 3rd overall pick for garbage!

Eric- The others are Booth , Ballard(can choose which of 7 teams he'll go to) & Horton.
I agree about Booth. Another hit & I think he's done for.

Man, decisions decisions.

BTW- Rick Dudley is GM of Atlanta.

Here it all is boys! if we do draft third overall, there is only one guy that can produce other then hall and Seguin and That is Connolly. Come on people look at the kids stats he was sixteen years old and got 30 goals and 30 assists in his first year and when he came back from injury started producing right away. this kid in my mind would be the first draft pick if he stayed healthy. So i hope sexton plays it right and picks him. we have a good core of young defense-men already and are goal tending has more depth then ever.
this team is lacking offensive, we have no star players or identity players here,
guys like horton and weiss are collecting paychecks and are far from identity players, like sexton said in his year end interview some of the players were playing for themselves not the team! come on anyone who was drafted third overall and has not made the playoffs in 6-7 years in his career you think they would put in the extra effort! clearly tells me they are collecting paychecks well laying in the sun swinging golf clubs. you can just tell they have no chemistry on the team at all, its almost like horton and weiss buddy up, try and get some points for themselves then you have the czech clan that cant produce and are way overpaid.
Everyone is watching sexton i hope he knows that the panthers whole fan base it waiting on this summer to see how much of a hero or complete tree stump he is predicted to be, with decisions this franchise has made in the past.
If i was sexton this summer here is what i would do.
first draft Connolly, throw him on the second line with frolik and weiss.
trade Horton and one of those second round draft picks he picked up and a youngster like Repik/clay Wilson/ Dadnov for Iginla now that he is rumored to be on the trade block its worth a shot am i right?!?!
next trade vokoun to Washington for mike green, mike green would play a huge role in the dressing room with his American bad ass identity and scoring touch. then bring up Markstrom and pick up a goalie like Fernandaz off free agency and swap Markstrom and Fernandaz back and fourth all year.
now the most simplest guys to get rid of, throw olesz kreps and campbell and stillman in a bag and ship them away for 2 guys like voracek from columbus and a guy like steen from the blues with 25plus goals this year . Its not rocket science the team needs a feel of fire and intensity and guys who want to play every night.
so this is how my roster would look.
first line) booth steen iginla
second line) Connolly weiss frolik
third line ) dvorak reinprecht matthias
fourth line) bitz tarnasky oreskovich


markstrom and fernandaz

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