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PANTHERS DRAFT BUILD CONTINUES: Florida goes winger heavy on draft's second day


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TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards
PHILADELPHIA -- Jayce Hawryluk came to the second day of the NHL draft figuring he wouldn't wait long to hear his name called.
Florida general manager Dale Tallon, after all, told the winger from Manitoba he would be the Panthers' selection with the 32nd overall pick if he was still on the board.
Finnish winger Juho Lammikko, on the other hand, had no idea he would land Florida after not meeting with the Panthers in the days leading up to the draft.
Yet here both were, wearing matching red Florida jerseys with their draft year stitched on the back.
"They are a good young team with good players,'' Hawryluk said after Florida took him with the second pick of the second round at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday morning.
"It's a good organization and I'm happy to be there. They told me I was their guy at 32 and they kept their promise. That means a lot to me. Of course, anything could change. But they kept their word.''
Said Tallon: "He has speed, toughness and skill. There are a lot of things to like.''
Florida didn't have a third round pick before Tallon made his lone trade of the weekend in a deal with the Islanders. The Panthers gave up a third round pick in next year's draft -- one Florida is hosting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise -- for the 65th overall selection on Saturday.
With that pick, Florida went after a versatile winger in Lammikko. Tallon said he liked what he saw from Lammikko at the world under-18 tournament during the spring.
Lammikko played 20 games in the Finnish elite league last year but Tallon said he may play in North America next season.
"It was an awesome feeling when I heard my name called,'' said Lammikko, who is expected to join the rest of Florida's 2014 draft class at development camp starting July 7.
The Panthers came into the second and final day of the draft with four selections but ended with five after making the deal with the Islanders.
With their next two picks, Florida stayed on its forward route taking wingers Joe Wegworth and Miguel Fidler in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively.
Neither player is expected to be part of the Panthers any time soon.
Wegworth, who is part of the U.S. developmental team, plans to play in the USHL junior league for the Green Bay Gamblers next year. After that, he's committed to play at Notre Dame.
Fidler is a high school player from Edina, Minnesota, and also plans to play in the USHL as well next season. Then, it's off to Ohio State.
"I like to play a physical game, hit people. I want to bring that to the Panthers someday,'' Wegworth said.
With its final pick of the day, Florida went away from forwards and took Swedish goalie Hugo Fagerblom in the seventh round.
"We added size and players who are hard to play against,'' Tallon said.
NEW PANTHERS
D Aaron Ekblad, first overall pick
RW Jayce Hawryluk, second round (32nd)
C/W Juho Lammikko, third round (65th)
RW Joe Wegwerth, fourth round (92nd)
LW Miguel Fidler, fifth round (143rd)
G Hugo Fagerblom, seventh round (182nd)

Comments

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Reading body language of Tallon and Torrey they are much more happier at this draft as compared to this year

Still need to get rid of dead weight and improve locker room
Will be interesting as Tampa appears to be much better and have done more to improve

What does Tampa have to do with us? We just need to improve, the rest takes care of itself.

We don't have the talent to compete with Tampa and Boston as Tampa continues to make great moves and we continue to battle for the lottery

Unless we are a wild card chances are that if we make the playoffs we play either Boston or Tampa in the first round

Our organization is not known for devleoping players so far don't see improvement in the panthers see a great deal of improvement in Tampa

Tallon's 5 year plan is a flop compared to Tampa's 5 year plan

Neither Tampa nor Boston were firmly anchored to the cap floor. What Florida does in free agency will probably speak to what chance they have this season. They need a scoring and another blueliner even if Ekblad makes it. PP and PK has to be improve. Regardless, they won't be a cup contender. They will be a better team. Tallon has drafted some good players. No later round gems though. They also don't have a backup in net if Luongo goes down for any length of time. Unless gallant is totally clueless, Panthers will be better. But I agree that there are still IF's as always with this team.

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