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FLORIDA LOTTERY: Panthers Win Draft Lottery, Hold Top Pick in 2014

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Florida Panthers didn't seem to have much luck this past season but things went their way on Tuesday night.

The Panthers won the NHL's annual draft lottery and will have the first overall pick in the upcoming draft this June.

This was the third time in franchise history the Panthers won the annual lottery. In 2002 and 2003, Florida traded its top pick.

Last year, Florida finished last in the league but watched Colorado jump it in the lottery and pick first. On Tuesday, the Panthers hopped Buffalo.

The Panthers had a nearly 19 percent chance of winning the lottery; Buffalo had a 25 percent chance.

Florida has had a top three pick in four of the past five years. The Panthers haven't actually picked first since taking Ed Jovanovski in 1994.

"This is a chance for us to build on our top core players,'' said Travis Viola, the team's Vice President for hockey operations who represented the Panthers at the made-for-TV event in Toronto.

What Florida does with the pick is not known. This isn't considered a draft with a game-changing player and general manager Dale Tallon recently said he would entertain offers for Florida's spot.

If the Panthers do keep the pick, expect top-end defenseman Aaron Ekblad or forwards Samuel Bennett Sam Reinhart to be considered.

Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center will play host to this summer's draft June 27-28.

The Panthers will host the draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise next year.



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it is actually the 4th time, in 1997 we traded our first round pick to San Jose for Viktor Koslov and we ended up winning the lottery. Another bad trade that the Florida Panthers have made throughout the years.

Here are some quotes from an article written by Mike Russo on May 12, 1998

When General Manager Bryan Murray traded the Panthers' first-round draft choice to San Jose for 23-year-old forward Viktor Kozlov last November, he couldn't know he was dealing the first overall pick in next month's draft.
But that's what the sacrificed draft choice became Sunday when the NHL's lottery machine spat out ``Florida Panthers.''

``When we made the deal, we thought we would be a playoff team, picking 10th or 11th at worst,'' he said. ``But I've seen Lacavalier and Legwand play, and I feel we have something special in Kozlov. I've watched Viktor play [at the World Championships), and he is the leading scorer of the entire tournament. He's been a star, the best forward and most important forward of all the NHL players here. I think we saw the emerging of a real important player this year.''

But some question the deal.

``It's pretty dicey when you trade the rights to pick Vincent Lecavalier or David Legwand for a less-than-20-goal scorer,'' said Ken Campbell, a senior editor at The Hockey News. ``All indications are that Viktor Kozlov was very good down the stretch for Florida, but I doubt he'll be a 100-point guy in this league. If he was . . . he would have started to show that by now, and he hasn't.''

Lecavalier and Legwand are projected to become 40-goal, 100-point stars.

Tampa Bay General Manager Phil Esposito has been criticized for mistakes in the Lightning's drafts. But he made a shrewd move in March when he traded to get the rights to the Panthers' first-round pick and Andrei Nazarov from San Jose for Bryan Marchment and David Shaw.

You lose some, you win some…it's who you surround them too! Pavel Bure acquisition for Jovoslowski was the best gift to the FANS!!!

Season ticket holder - excellent research, my friend! To dig into the archives, the Cats finished the 1997-1998 season as the 2nd worst team in points. At the time when Bryan Murray made the trade, the Panthers were the 2nd-3rd worst team in the Eastern Conference.

So, for this June...who do the Panthers choose? Do they go with D Aaron Ekblad, who has recently surged ahead of C Sam Reinhart (who had been ranked #1 for the longest time by Billy Joel)? Decisions, decisions...but good decisions.

Not too sure what this means yet, still have to look at
things and wrap my head around all the potential moves
that can be made.

I will say this, the more I look at what the "consensus" dictates is considered the top 3 players(Ekblad, Reinhart, and Bennett), the more I think a trade might be in the works. Problem is this:
If I look at the top 3 and really don't see a player that makes me say "I just gotta have THAT guy", then exactly what GM in the league is gonna be willing to give up what The Cats will be invariably asking for
to jump up and get the #1 overall pick?

Takes 2 to tango, as the old saying goes, and this situation is gonna need a little more time to develop before any semblance of a direction can be obtained regarding The Panthers. I do, however, know this, the more options, the better, and The Panthers just got hand-delivered a myriad of options.

As long as you don't bring back another old flame and sign him for life to please a minor owner while jeopardizing the future. Sure they love Florida...

If BM was bad, how good is to bring back his old players that got old too ?

If you are going to trade the pick for a Viktor Koslov type, I would not complete the trade
how about Kulikov and the first for O'Reilly and Colorado's first in 2015? assuming we sign the 2 d-men at BC

Bettman at the draft: We have a trade to announce! The Florida Panthers trade the first overall pick in this year's draft, as well as Roberto Luongo, for Todd Bertuzzzzzi!!! Crowd goes wild.

I like Barkov , need to get a JJokineen or great sniper on that line. I keep Kulikov who got equal ice with Soup because is an offensive engine. Campbell is getting old. Good offensive D's are in demand, even old Denis Wideman is making top $$$

I hope they go for Leon Draisaitl with that pick! Never heard of? Go google and you will be astonished!

Draisaitl is a damn good player, and not really a surprise to anyone who follows hockey prospects. He's also going to likely be selected anywhere between 4-7, depending on whether or not someone falls in love with him and tries to make a move up to 3. I would be pretty taken aback if anyone other than Ekblad, Reinahrt, or Bennett is selected 1-2.

I personally have a bit of a man-crush on Nik Ehlers, but, like with most really fast/skilled guys, it's the lack of size that dogs him, also the fact that he played with another dynamic player in Drouin which doesn't hurt, lol.

I still think he'll be great, and the possibilities abound for The Cats. Get it done Tallon.

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