It didn’t take long to get a surprise pick in this year’s first-round.
Florida stunned fans by taking Finnish forward Aleksander Barkov second overall. Barkov was believed to be the fourth-best player in this year’s draft, but also thought to be a guy capable of jumping to the NHL right now. He was the No. 1 rated European prospect by NHL Central Scouting.
“We are thrilled to have selected Aleksander with our first pick in the Draft,” said Panthers Executive VP and GM Dale Tallon. “He is an extremely talented player that fits all the qualities that we look for in size, skill and character. We look forward to seeing him in Florida in the near future.”
Many suspected Florida would grab defenseman Seth Jones after Colorado selected Nathan MacKinnon first overall, but they opted for the strong centerman with Russian bloodlines. If Jones turns into a superstar, expect GM Dale Tallon to take heat for passing.