Panthers 2006 draft review
Written by Chris Leary on 07/12/2006
On a weekend that will long be remembered for the trade that severed ties with franchise goaltender Roberto Luongo, the Florida Panthers took a gamble in the NHL Entry Draft that may eventually add another franchise player. When Panthers GM Mike Keenan rolled the dice with the tenth pick of the draft on Czech Republic wing Michael Frolik, he went against his usual inclination towards North American prospects in the first round and may have landed the biggest steal of the draft. A silky playmaker blessed with uncommon creative flair in the offensive zone, the player nicknamed "Baby Jagr" dropped on many draft boards over the past 12 months, falling out of the top five to what may be an extremely fortunate Panther franchise.
With no second round pick, Florida had to wait all the way to the 73rd selection to add the lightning-quick Brady Calla, who is already possessed of NHL-caliber speed but needs to develop offensively before the Panthers can expect a significant contribution at the NHL level. In the middle to late stages of the draft, the Panthers attempted to address significant organizational needs with the selection of three promising defensemen and a goaltender. Of these four players, overage offensive defenseman Peter Aston should be the first to appear on Florida's radar, as the remaining three should all see significant time in the amateur ranks before the Panthers need to make a decision on their futures.