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Former Panthers draft picks in the Dale Tallon era

With the trade of Kenndal McArdle yesterday, only one Panthers draft pick from the Mike Keenan era remains on the roster: David Booth. While Dale Tallon has emphasised filling the team with Panthers draft picks, he has also been trading away the few remaining players on the roster who were drafted by the Panthers. To be fair, Tallon didn’t really inherit a lot of players drafted by the Panthers. Some of the earlier regimes seemingly made a project of trading away picks and prospects in return for aging veterans. However, Tallon has not been shy about trading away the few guys left on the roster who were drafted by the Cats.

There has been a theme of old picks returning to the team. Radek Dvorak, originally drafted in 1995 by Bryan Murray, returned during the Jacques Martin era but was traded by Tallon. Tallon has recently brought back Ed Jovanovski, drafted in 1994 when Bobby Clarke was still General Manager. Our analysis will start with the 2001 draft, when Bill Torrey was GM and continue on to Randy Sexton’s lone draft in 2009.

Bill Torrey: 2001

The only draft pick from Bill Torrey’s lone draft as GM remaining with the club is Stephen Weiss. Drafted fourth overall, Weiss seems to be the guy Tallon is drafting around. Although there have long been other teams inquiring about his availability, Weiss has continually stated his desire to remain with the Panthers and be part of a winning team here. He may end up as the Panthers’ first real franchise player.

Only three players from that 2001 draft ever spent real time in the NHL and Weiss remains the only one in the league. The other two, Lukas Krajicek and Ivan Majesky, are now both playing in Europe.

Rick Dudley: 2002, 2003

A fun fact about Rick Dudley’s draft picks for the Panthers: of the ten players that ever played in the NHL, all but one were either let go as free agents by Jacques Martin or Randy Sexton or traded by Dale Tallon. Six players from Rick Dudley’s two drafts spent more than a season in the NHL. All started with the Panthers. Four of them, Jay Bouwmeester, Anthony Stewart, Tanner Glass and Kamil Kreps, were gone before Tallon’s arrival. Tallon inherited two: Gregory Campbell (3rd round, 2002) and Nathan Horton (3rd overall, 2003). Both were traded by Tallon to the Boston Bruins last summer after Horton requested a trade.

Mike Keenan: 2004, 2005, 2006

Mike Keenan drafted 21 players in three drafts for the Panthers. Exactly four have played in the NHL: Rostislav Olesz (drafted 7th overall in 2002), David Booth (2nd round, 2002), Kenndal McArdle (20th overall, 2005) and Michael Frolik (10th overall, 2006). The only players besides Booth remaining in the system from the Keenan era are the goaltenders: both Marc Cheverie and Tyler Plante were qualified by the Panthers this summer but as of now remain unsigned.

Jacques Martin: 2007, 2008

Although it seems like he was General Manager forever, the timing of both Mike Keenan’s firing and Martin’s own defection to the Canadiens meant he only presided over two drafts. Thirteen players were selected in those two drafts. Out of those 13, four have played in the NHL. Matt Bartkowski for the Bruins, the remainder for the Panthers. Three of the guys from the 2007 draft have a good chance of making the Panthers this year: Keaton Ellerby (10th overall), Michal Repik (2nd round) and Evgeny Dadonov (3rd round). Of the remainder, only John Lee (Denver, WHCA) was invited to this year’s development camp. The future of the 2008 draft with the Panthers organization seems fairly solid. Of the five draftees that year, one has been traded and the remainder are expected to play with the San Antonio Rampage next season. One, Jacob Markstrom (2nd round) is considered the Panthers’ top prospect while the remainder, Colby Robak (2nd round), Adam Comrie (3rd round) and A.J. Jenks (4th round), at least have a shot to at least play as a call-up at some point in the next few years.

Randy Sexton: 2009

Seven players were drafted in Sexton’s lone draft as Panthers GM. Two of those players have already played for the Panthers. Dmitry Kulikov (14th overall) was widely considered as untouchable as anyone can have been when Tallon took over the team in 2010. Scott Timmins (6th round) was a solid fourth line center for the Cats for 19 games in the middle of last season before receiving a season-ending concussion. He still has a shot to make the team this year, or to be a big part of the Rampage’s season in 2011-12. Four of the remaining five players, Drew Shore (2nd round), Josh Birkholz (3rd round), Garrett Wilson (4th round) and Corban Knight (5th round), were invited to this year’s development camp. Wilson was recently signed to an entry-level deal with the Panthers and will likely start the season in San Antonio.