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Panthers GM Tallon will shop No. 1 pick in draft

by Staff

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said he would consider trading the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft for the right price in return.

Tallon made the announcement during a radio interview Thursday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

"I definitely will [shop the pick], especially this year," Tallon said.

The first round of the draft will take place on June 27 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.


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"Well, why not?" Tallon said. "I'm looking at everything. I'm open for business. 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."

The Panthers have picked in the top 15 of the draft 15 times over their 20-year history; eight picks were among the top five. The franchise has held a top-three pick in four of the past five years, but hasn't picked No. 1 since selecting defenseman Ed Jovanovski in 1994.

Florida won the NHL Draft Lottery on April 14, moving one spot ahead of the Buffalo Sabres, who held a 25 percent of winning the lottery. The Panthers had nearly a 19 percent chance at winning the lottery. It marked the third time in franchise history the Panthers won the lottery; in 2002 and 2003, Florida traded the top pick.

"I think it's a good omen for our franchise," said Tallon, who was general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks when they won the draft lottery in 2007. "It was really a good thing for us, real positive thing. Like it was in Chicago, when we won the lottery to go from 5 to 1 and pick [Patrick] Kane, and the rest is history."

Last year, Florida finished last in the League but the Colorado Avalanche won the lottery and selected forward Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 pick.

Center Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League was listed No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 draft.

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who was named the Ontario Hockey League's best defenseman this season, is No. 2. Rounding out the top five are center Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League, center Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL), and left wing Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals (OHL).

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