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DRAFT FLIES BY: Panthers Get Four on Draft's Final Quick Day ... Cats Get Creative

DraftpittsBY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards 

PITTSBURGH – Although no one officially keeps track of these sort of these things, it is thought the NHL zipped through the second day of its draft on Saturday in record time.

It only took about 2 ½ hours to get through six rounds at the Consol Center as teams sent up pick after pick in rapid procession. The day would have gone by even a little faster had it not been for the Panthers.

Florida, which ended up taking four players on the second day, had to ask for more time during a selection. The Panthers called a timeout – drawing boos from the crowd and wise cracks from the media on Twitter – during the fourth round.

It wasn't that Florida's brain trust was indecisive. No, the player it wanted to take wasn't in the NHL central registry. Once Alexander Delnov was inserted and deemed draft eligible, the Panthers took him with the 114th overall pick.

“We had to make sure he was in the system so there was some confusion there,'' general manager Dale Tallon said. “We wanted to make sure we did everything legally correct.''

LemieuxstatueFlorida, which had made major deals at the previous six drafts, wasn't able to do much of anything here. The Panthers made one minor trade, swapping seventh round picks with Dallas. And that was it – although not for a lack of trying.

“I love the action,'' Tallon said with a grin, “but there wasn’t any. Sometimes you’re hitting the drives and sometimes you’re the one being hit. This year was just one of those years. We have a lot of prospects. We made some good picks. We're satisfied. We got some size, some speed and some grit.”

The Panthers didn't have a second round pick as it was handed off to Tampa Bay (via Philadelphia) as part of last July's trade for Kris Versteeg.

So, Florida's first pick of the day was center Steven Hodges of the Western Hockey League's Victoria Royals at 84. Director of amateur scouting Scott Luce said Hodges is a midsized forward with some skill to his game. “He's a competitive guy who is going to score,'' Luce said.

In total, Florida added five players – three forwards and two defensemen. By drafting so low in each round (Florida had the 23rd pick in each of the four rounds it had selections in, not counting the Dallas pick) the Panthers became a little creative.

Delnov is a player the Panthers knew from Russian scout Vadim Podrezov. Florida expects Delnov to play in the Canadian junior leagues this coming season.

“That was a wild-card pick, but he was a top-5, top-10 forward at the under-18 tournament in April,'' Luce said. “He plays for the club team who our Russian scout works. We know this kid inside and out. He wants to come to North America to play and he was a player we valued. We sort of had an inside track.''

Shayne() South Florida had another one of its own taken in the draft as Margate's Shayne Gostisbehere was taken in the third round by the Flyers.

Gostisbehere, a defenseman, played for the Junior Panthers in Coral Springs growing up and played in the NCAA's Frozen Four for Union College this past season.

() The Panthers will hold a developmental camp for many of its prospects and recent draftees starting next Sunday. The first on-ice workout will be Tuesday, July 3, at the team's training facility in Coral Springs. It is free and open to the public.


Who: Mike Matheson, defenseman

How acquired: First round, 23rd overall

Age, hometown: 18; Pointe-Claire, Quebec

Scouting report: The 6-foot-1 defenseman is off to national power Boston College in the fall and should play at least two seasons with the Eagles. Matheson is a good skater and has some zip to his shot.

Who: Steven Hodges

How acquired: Third round, 84th overall

Age, hometown: 18; Delta, British Columbia

Scouting report: Hodges is a good sized center with a sense of scoring as he put in 21 goals for Victoria of the Western Hockey League this past season.

Who: Alexander Delnov, left wing

How acquired: Fourth round, 114th overall

Age, hometown: 18; Moskva, Russia

Scouting report: Delnov only scored 11 goals for his junior team in Russia this season, but he played well at the under-18 World Championships where he caught Florida's attention.

Who: Francis Beauvillier, left wing/center

How acquired: Sixth round, 174th overall

Age, hometown: 18; Sorel-Tracy, Quebec

Scouting report: The Panthers feel Beauvillier will get better as he gets stronger although they like his decision making and play on both ends of the ice.

Who: Jonatan Nielsen, defenseman

How acquired: Seventh round (via trade with Dallas), 194th overall

Age, hometown: 18; Anderstorp, Sweden

Scouting report: At 6-3, Nielsen has good size although he's not looked at to put up many points offensively. He is good with the stick, however, and could develop.