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First Round Recap: Panthers grab Spencer Knight to build strong future depth in goal

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Expected trade fireworks fizzle out on Friday night

NHL: NHL Draft Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers made a little history on Friday night taking a goaltender in the first round for the first time ever when they selected Spencer Knight from the USNTDP.

“Well, he’s big, he’s mobile, he’s confident, he’s very calm in the net, nothing bothers him. He’s a great puck-handler and he’s got great hockey sense. He reads the play well and he’s gonna be like a third defenseman for us back there (with) his ability to read plays and move the puck, especially with the way the game is played today. He’s a great athlete that plays the position extremely well and he does it with a lot of calmness. They rarely come around, goaltenders like this.”

That’s what general manager Dale Tallon had to say when asked what makes Knight such a special player.

While I am excited by this pick, it was a hard for me to see the Panthers pass on pint-sized sniper Cole Caufield, who was taken by the Montreal Canadiens two picks later.

There was only one trade last night and it just involved a swap of picks, with the Philadelphia dropping down from 11 to 14 with the Arizona Coyotes moving up to select defenseman Victor Soderstrom. To make the slide, the Flyers acquired the 45th pick overall from the Coyotes.

As expected by everyone in the hockey world, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko were the one-two punch selected by the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.

It was the number three pick where pundits said the draft would really start and the Chicago Blackhawks selected forward Kirby Dach, leaving Bowen Byram, the draft’s best defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the first round was German defenseman Moritz Seider going sixth overall to the Detroit Red Wings.

Here’s the complete list of last night’s first round selections. Day two of the draft gets underway at 1 p.m. this afternoon. You can watch the proceedings on NHL Network or listen to WQAM.

  1. New Jersey Devils - F Jack Hughes
  2. New York Rangers - F Kaapo Kakko
  3. Chicago Blackhawks - F Kirby Dach
  4. Colorado Avalanche - D Bowen Byram (from Ottawa)
  5. Los Angeles Kings - F Alex Turcotte
  6. Detroit Red Wings - D Moritz Seider
  7. Buffalo Sabres - F Dylan Cozens
  8. Edmonton Oiles - D Philip Broberg
  9. Anaheim Ducks - F Trevor Zegra
  10. Vacouver Canucks - F Vasili Podkolzin
  11. Arizona Coyotes - F Victor Soderstrom (from Philadelphia)
  12. Minnesota Wild - F Matthew Boldy
  13. Florida Panthers - G Spencer Knight
  14. Philadelphia Flyers - D Cam York (from Arizona)
  15. Montreal Canadiens - F Cole Caufield
  16. Colorado Avalanche - F Alex Newhook
  17. Vegas Golden Knights - F Payton Krebs
  18. Dallas Stars - D Thomas Harley
  19. Ottawa Senators - D Lassi Thomson (from Colorado)
  20. Winnipeg Jets - D Ville Heinola (from NY Rangers via Winnipeg)
  21. Pittsburgh Penguins - F Samuel Poulin
  22. Los Angeles Kings - D Tobias Bjornfot (from Toronto)
  23. New York Islanders - F Simon Holmstrom
  24. Nashville Predators - F Philip Tomasino
  25. Washington Capitals - F Connor McMichael
  26. Calgary Flames - F Jakob Pelletier
  27. Tampa Bay Lightning - F Nolan Foote
  28. Carolina Hurricanes - F Ryan Suzuki
  29. Anaheim Ducks - F Brayden Tracey (from San Jose via Buffalo)
  30. Boston Bruins - F John Beecher
  31. Buffalo Sabres - F Ryan Johnson (from St. Louis)