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Florida Panthers select center Anton Lundell with 12th pick in the 2020 Draft

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The first selection of the Bill Zito era is in

USA v Finland: Gold Medal Game - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images

The Florida Panthers have selected forward Anton Lundell with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

It was the first selection by new general manager Bill Zito and on the surface, it’s a pretty good one, considering Lundell was probably the best player available and can play center, a position the Panthers are weak at on the NHL roster and in the current group of prospects.

Zito had this to say:

“Playing in Finland’s top professional league for parts of three seasons as a teenager, Anton has continued to develop into a highly-talented two-way forward, He is a responsible, cerebral player who possesses great hockey sense and compete. We are thrilled to have selected Anton and are excited for his future.”

The 19-year-old Lundell appeared in 44 games with HIFK of Finland’s top professional league, Liiga, and registered ten goals and 28 points.

In three games with HIFK in the 2020-21 Liiga season, Lundell has already produced a goal and an assist.

He earned a Gold Medal with Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, producing four points (1G/3A) in seven games. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Espoo, Finland helped his country win a Gold Medal at the 2018 IIHF World U18 Championship, posting six points (2G/4A) in seven games. At the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he produced two points (1G/1A)) in four games.

In 2018-19, Lundell recorded 9 goals and 19 points in 38 games with HIFK and appeared in three games with HIFK in the Champions Hockey League. Lundell also played in 10 games with HIFK U20 of the top Finnish junior league and amassed 15 points (6G/9A).

Lundell’s father Jan Lundell played 16 seasons as a goaltender in Liiga and serves as the goaltending coach for HIFK. In 2019-20, the two Lundells played together in one game for the club.

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