Three weeks after winning the No. 1 pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers are ready to trade it.
On Friday, Dale Tallon told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 he would “definitely” be shopping the first overall selection, which the Panthers obtained on Apr. 15 after winning the annual draft lottery.
“I’m open for business,” Tallon said. “You have three options, you either take it, move back, or trade it. So that’s what we’re looking at. What’s the best deal for our future, that’s the key.”
When asked specifically if he was merely interested in the idea of moving the pick or had actively planned to shop it, Tallon confirmed the latter.
“I definitely will [be shopping the pick], especially this year,” he explained. “We had a couple of nibbles the day after we won [the lottery]. There were a couple guys calling to bust my chops, asking ‘what are you going to do?’ And that’s fine. It’s a good thing.”
While there’s no consensus No.1 overall pick this year, draft pundits have identified a trio of players that’ll likely vie for the spot: OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, WHL Kootenay forward Sam Reinhart and OHL Kingston forward Sam Bennett, who finished atop the final NHL Central Scouting rankings for the ’14 draft.
Leon Draisaitl, Michael Dal Colle, Nick Ritchie, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jake Virtanen, Kasperi Kapanen and Haydn Fleury are considered other potential top-10 picks, but there’s no clear cut superstar-in-the-making like there’s projected to be next year, when Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are draft eligible.
That, along with the fact Florida’s already so young, could be why Tallon is prepared to move the pick. In the same interview with Fan 590, he stressed the need for the Panthers to acquire some veteran leaders.
“The thinking is we need stability and experience and someone who’s been through the wars,” he said.