On the second day of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at the Consol Energy Center, the Florida Panthers selected four players: C Steven Hodges (Round 3, No. 84 overall), LW Alexander Delnov (Round 4, No. 104 overall), C/LW Francis Beauvillier (Round 6, No. 174 overall) and D Jonatan Nielsen (Round 7, No. 194 overall).
“It was a good Draft for our club,” said Panthers Executive Vice President & General Manager Dale Tallon. “With a limited number of picks, we added more depth, along with skill, speed and toughness to our organization.”
The Panthers also held the No. 53 overall selection in Round 2, but utilized their option to give up that pick as part of last summer’s trade for Kris Versteeg with Philadelphia, who in turn gave the pick to Tampa Bay. The Panthers traded their Round 7 selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft to Dallas in exchange for the pick used to acquire Nielsen.
Hodges, 18, totaled 46 points (21-25-46) in 72 games with the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League in 2011-12. The 5-11, 178-pound center was one of four players to play in every game for the Royals. The Delta, B.C., native also totaled four assists in four playoff games and was ranked the No. 85 North American skater in the final Central Scouting rankings prior to the Draft.
Delnov, 18, recorded 22 points (11-11-22) in 47 games with Mytischi Atlantes of the Russian Junior league in 2011-12. The 6-0, 187-pound left wing also totaled three points (1-2-3) for Russia in six games at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
Beauvillier, 18, totaled 34 points (23-11-34) in 64 games for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during the 2011-12 season. The 6-1, 181-pound forward added nine points (5-4-9) in 21 playoff games. The Sorel-Tracy, Que., native was ranked the No. 56 North American skater in Central Scouting’s final rankings.
Nielsen, 18, totaled nine points (5-4-9) in 38 games with Linkoping of the Swedish Junior League. The 6-3, 183-pound defenseman added four points (1-3-4) in six playoff games. The native of Anderstop, Sweden, was ranked the No. 83 European skater in the final Central Scouting pre-Draft rankings.
In Friday evening’s Round 1, the Panthers selected D Michael Matheson with the No. 23 overall pick. The Pointe Claire, Que., native totaled 27 points (11-16-27) in 53 games with the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) during the 2011-12 season. The 18-year-old led Dubuque defensemen in scoring and added five points (4-1-5) in five playoff games.
The Panthers left the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh with five new prospects: three forwards and two defensemen; three Canadians, one Russian and one Swede; and a player each from the USHL, WHL, QMJHL, Russian Junior and Swedish Junior leagues.
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