By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
|Fargo winger Josh Birkholz was the Cats third selection in the 2009 NHL Draft (67th overall)
MONTREAL - The Cats went back to the American ranks with their second pick on day two, taking Josh Birkholz
with the 67th pick in the Entry Draft.
The pick, acquired earlier in the day along with Jordan Leopold in exchange for Jay Bouwmeester was used on the 18-year old from St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Birkholz finished second on the Fargo Force during the 2008-09 season with 21 goals and third with 36 points (21-15-36) in 55 games. He has committed to the University of Minnesota next season.
The right winger said he talked to the Panthers "quite a bit" before the Draft and, "They might have given me a few hints they were interested in me."
Birkholz impressed scouts with his skating last season, but will have to work on his consistency.He's taking summer classes at the University of Minnesota and working out every morning with Panther defenseman and Minnesota alumni Keith Ballard.
"It's special to be part of an organization like (Florida), with very good players," he said. "I think Florida will be a good fit. I hope to be there as soon as possible."
• He totaled 34 goals and 59 points (34-25-59) in 2007-08 as a high school junior at The Blake School. An Associated Press honorable mention all-state selection, Birkholz helped lead his team to the Minnesota state hockey tournament.
• He was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 2008 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Camrose, Alberta and he also played with the U.S. Under-17 select team last year at the Five Nations tournament in the Czech Republic.