The Cats keep the first overall pick and select the consensus number one pick, then stay quiet the rest of the draft.
Put it in the books. The 2014 NHL Entry Draft is over and the Panthers did what will hopefully turn out in retrospect to have done the sensible thing, holding on to the first overall pick and selecting the consensus best player, defenseman Aaron Ekblad. The Cats stayed fairly quiet the rest of the draft, making one trade with the Islanders to pick up a third-round pick, and not going off the board until late.
Here are the Panthers' picks, with links to our coverage of each:
1 D Aaron Ekblad
32 F Jayce Hawryluk
Trade: Third-round pick in 2015 for pick 65.
65 F Juho Lammiko
92 F Joe Wegwerth
143 F Miguel Fidler
182 G Hugo Fagerblom
Overall, I'll give the Panthers good marks for this draft. The most important thing was to not screw up the first overall pick by making a bad trade, then spending the next ten years regretting taking a pass on Ekblad. The kid is as close to a sure thing as one gets in the draft, and could step in as early as next season. The Panthers are building a good, young team and Ekblad should be a big part of the core.
The remaining picks aren't too far in left field, as far as I can tell. I look forward to seeing what Tallon and Company do in the next couple weeks with free agency, but I think the off-season is off to a good start.