Travis Viola, VP of hockey ops, brought the Florida Panthers some much needed luck as the Florida Panthers bumped the Buffalo Sabres, who finished with the league's worst record, from the first selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. This year's draft will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28.
Viola after the announcement:
The lottery win opens up a world of possibilities for master of the blueprint Dale Tallon. The Panthers could keep the pick and choose from the likes of Sam Reinhart. Sam Bennett, Michael Dal Colle or defenseman Aaron Ekblad. They could trade down and still come away with the player they want while acquiring additional assets, or flip the pick (probably as part of a larger package) for a much-needed veteran scoring forward.
This is the third time the Cats have won the draft lottery. In 2002 and 2003 they ended up trading the selection. Florida has not made the opening pick in the draft since 1994, when they selected Ed Jovanovski. Will history repeat itself twenty years later, or will the Panthers make a move, possibly a huge one?