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Meet The Florida Panthers 2014 Draft Class

by Patrick McGrath / Florida Panthers

Aaron Ekblad

Age: 18 Height: 6’3” Weight: 213 Position: D

Draft: 1st round, 1st overall

How He Got Here:

Aaron Ekblad was widely considered the best player available in the draft and it is no surprise that he was selected with the first overall pick. During the 2013-14 season, Ekblad was named the OHL’s Defenseman of the Year, while captaining the Barrie Colts. He led all OHL defensemen in goals with 23 and finishing tied for fifth in points with 53.

The 2013-14 season was Ekblad’s third in the OHL as he was granted ‘exceptional player status’ prior to the 2011-12 season which allowed him to join the league at the age of 15.

What’s Next:

Many experts viewed Ekblad as the most NHL-ready player in the draft. He will join the Panthers at training camp with the chance to compete for a spot on the opening night roster.


“I believe that if I work hard this summer I can step into the NHL next year. Obviously I’m going to need a lot of help and it’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m confident in myself.”

Jayce Hawryluk

Age: 18 Height: 5’10” Weight: 190 Position: RW/C

Draft: 2nd round, 32nd overall

How He Got Here:

Jayce Hawryluk spent the 2013-14 season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. He led the team in scoring with 64 points (24-40-64) in 59 games. He has spent two seasons with Brandon and he played internationally for Canada at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.

What’s Next:

Hawryluk will most likely spend the 2014-15 season with Brandon, but could be challenging for a Panthers roster spot in the next couple of years.


“It’s a dream come true. You work your whole life to come to this moment. To hear your name called, it’s hard to explain, a lot of emotions going on right now.”

Juho Lammikko

Age: 18 Height: 6’1” Weight: 190 Position: RW

Draft: 3rd round, 65th overall

How He Got Here:

The Florida Panthers traded into the third round to select Juho Lammikko, sending a 2015 third round pick to the New York Islanders in order to pick the Finnish forward. Lammikko spent the 2013-14 season playing in Finland for Assat. With Assat’s junior squad, Lammikko tallied 42 points (17-25-42) in 37 games. He also played 20 games with the senior team in the Finish Liiga, registering one assist during that span.

What’s Next:

Lammikko will likely continue to play in Finland for another year or so as he prepares himself to make the jump to the NHL.


“It’s nice to hear my name and it’s an awesome feeling when I hear my name.”

Joe Wegwerth

Age: 18 Height: 6’3” Weight: 230 Position: RW

Draft: 4th round, 92nd overall

How He Got Here:

Wegwerth spent the 2013-14 season playing with the United States National Team Development Program. In 52 games in the USHL, playing with the US Under-18 team, Wegwerth tallied six points (3-3-6) and 123 penalty minutes.

What’s Next:

Wegwerth will continue to play in the USHL and he has also committed to the University of Notre Dame.


“I like to play physical, that’s part of my game. I’m a team guy, I like to be a leader out there. I hope I can bring that to the Florida Panthers.”

(Photo by Brian Nelson/Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League)

Miguel Fidler

Age: 18 Height: 6’0” Weight: 186 Position: LW

Draft: 5th round, 143rd overall

How He Got Here:

Miguel Fidler had a breakout season playing in Minnesota with Edina High School. The forward scored 41 points (16-25-41) in just 25 games and added 32 PIM. He has committed to play at Ohio State University so he might be a couple of years away from joining the Cats but he is certainly one to keep an eye on.

What’s Next:

Fidler is expected to join the USHL’s Lincoln Stars next year and has committed to play for Ohio State University in 2015-16.

Photo by:

Hugo Fagerblom

Age: 18 Height: 6’6” Weight: 202 Position: G

Draft: 7th round, 182nd overall

How He Got Here:

With their last pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, the Panthers selected Hugo Fagerblom, a goaltender from Sweden. Fagerblom has been playing in Frolunda’s youth system, spending most of the 2013-14 season playing with their under-18 squad where he recorded a 2.24 GAA, one shutout and a .916 save percentage in eight games played.

What’s Next:

Fagerblom will continue to work on his game overseas with an eye towards making the jump to the American pro ranks in the next couple of years.

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