OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 21: 31st overall pick, Jacob Markstrom of the Florida Panthers puts on his new team jersey after being selected in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place on June 21, 2008 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
Back in June of 2008, the Panthers kicked off the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa by selecting Swedish netminder Jacob Markstrom with the 31st pick. For the Panthers, it was like Christmas as they were ecstatic to land Central Scouting's Number 1 ranked European goalie.
“We got a guy projected as a franchise elite, No. 1 goalie,” said Scott Luce, the Panthers’ director of scouting after the selection. “For him to slip to No. 31? It’s a good day for us.
"We got a guy we love. He’s a big, ,athletic goaltender who’s a real competitor. He was a leader on the national team, that speaks volumes for his character.”
Almost three years later, Markstrom took some time to recount being drafted as well as advice for players going through the process this season.
Floridapanthers.com: It was only a couple of years ago, but what do you remember most about draft day and the draft process?
Markstrom: "It was a long first round. I remember that. The second day was a lot of fun. It was a good experience for me, and my whole family was with me so it was a lot of fun. It's a special moment for all of the hockey players that get drafted. It was a really good experience."
FP.com: Going to Ottawa, was it what you expected?
Markstrom: "Of course with the first round, you don't know was going to happen but it was sold out so that was pretty cool to see all of the fans that came for the draft. Then you see how big of an interest in hockey, especially in Canada and of course in the U.S. too. I think that was the biggest surprise, just all of the fans that were there and all of the people."
FP.com: Were you surprised that Florida took you with the first pick in the second round? Was that who you had hoped?
Markstrom: "I was open minded. I came to the draft and I was happy to be there. My goal before the season was to be drafted and I got drafted so I was extremely happy about that. I was glad Florida picked me too because I think that was one of the teams that I had the best meetings with. They showed interest so I was really happy when they picked me."
FP.com: Having your parents there, that's got to make the process that much better?
Markstrom: "Yeah it was good. They enjoyed it as well, I think as much as I did if not even more. They thought it was a great time to have a couple of days in Ottawa so that was good for them too.
FP.com: Where's your draft jersey now?
Markstrom: "The jersey is back home in my old room that I had in my parent's house."
FP.com: Last question for you. Any advice you would give to draft prospects or guys that are going through this process now?
Markstrom: "It's hard to say but just play hockey. If you get drafted you get drafted. There's a bunch of guys who didn't get drafted or they got drafted late, who are stars in the NHL. It doesn't matter when or where they get drafted, just play hockey, have fun and do the best of the situation you are in."