PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23: Alexander Delnov, 114th overall pick by the Florida Panthers, poses for a portrait during Day Two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
After a long timeout at the tables from the likes of Dale Tallon and company that had analysts practically foaming at the mouth anticipating a Luongo trade, the Florida Panthers took Russian left wing Alexander Delnov from the Russia-Junior league.
The 6 foot even 187 pound winger scored 11 goals and 11 assists in 47 games and had a good showing in last years World U18 tournament. Said USA Today at the time:
In a world under-18 championships that offered precious few surprises, Russian winger Alexander Delnov was a pleasant exception.
We don't know where the Russians had Delnov stashed all year or why they chose to break him out for only the season's final tournament, but he was a breath of fresh air among a stagnant Russian forward group that offered precious little skill or passion.
Delnov was constantly active and involved over in Brno, and showed good muscle along the walls and a heavy shot off the wing. He has speed and some shiftiness and is a determined competitor who is tough to discourage or knock off the puck.
Given that only the very top-end Russian prospects get drafted these days, we're not sure Delnov's name will be called in June. But RLR's belief is that if his last name were Smith and he played in the Ontario Hockey League, we would be looking at a third-round selection.
Delnov to FLA. Really turned heads at the U18. Florida took relative unknown Russian last year in Kosov too who is impressive— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 23, 2012
Though right wing is where the Panthers are lacking, adding another left winger will help the organizational depth given star LW prospect Huberdeau will likely join the ranks in Sunrise next year. If Delnov can build upon his U18 performance, the Panthers might have found themselves a pretty good pick.