Originally written on Around The Rink  |  Last updated 11/19/14
The Panthers and GM Dale Talon have been struck hard by the injury bug. What are they to do with their possible #1 overall selection in June’s draft Today starts a new segment.  With the NHL Draft a mere 3 months away, it’s time to start looking at certain players who teams should be looking at. Today I take over the General Managing office of the Florida Panthers. General Manager Dale Talon took over the team in 2010, traded away many players, and rebuilt the franchise through a combination of Free Agency, bringing in names like Tomas Fleischmann and Ed Jovanovski, Trades with Chicago, bringing in Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, and Kris Versteeg, and through the Draft, taking Erik Gudbranson, Nick Bjugstad, and Jonathan Huberdeau, it seems like the franchise has turned around having went to the playoffs last season before being eliminated by eventual Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Devils. However due to injuries to 8 players on their roster, including center Stephen Weiss, Scottie Upshall, the aforementioned Versteeg, and goalie Jose Theodore among others, Florida has sunk to last place in the NHL.   So what would I do if I were GM Dale Talon? Well presumably Florida will have the #1 pick in the upcoming draft (*unless somehow or another the Oilers decide they’re gonna rig the system again and get a 5th consecutive #1 Overall selection) and with that selection I’d do one of two things; A) Select Nathan MacKinnon or B) Trade the pick to Buffalo and get an extra 2nd round pick. Buffalo desperately needs Seth Jones, but that’s for another article. With MacKinnon, the Panthers get a dynamic center who has been compared to Sidney Crosby (both are from Cole Harbor, both played in the QMJHL, both are dynamic centers) and with Stephen Weiss being placed on IR after having season-ending surgery on his wrist in a contract year, it isn’t likely he’ll be back for next season (and if he is it’ll only be for a year).  A member of the Halifax Moosheads, MacKinnon has 78 points (31 g 47 a) in 55 games and was hampered with a knee injury last month which sidelined him for two weeks. Halifax Moosheads forward Nathan MacKinnon has been compared to Sidney Crosby and is projected as a potential #1 overall pick in June’s Draft Selected #1 overall in the 2011 QMJHL Entry Draft by Baie-Comeau, MaacKinnon was traded to Halifax and has formed a dynamic duo with 2nd overall pick Jonathan Drouin. In two years with the Moosheads, Mackinnon has amassed over 100 goals, has great hands, and has had scouts raving about his game all season long.   With MacKinnon, the Panthers would get another young center to go along with 2011 pick Jonathan Huberdeau, a replacement for Stephen Weiss, and a kid who can be that dynamic forward the Panthers have been missing since the departure of “The Russian Rocket” Pavel Bure. I’m not saying that Dale Talon wouldn’t benefit from taking Seth Jones with the #1 overall pick (provided they get it), they would welcome another young defenseman to pair along with Erik Gudbranson, but with Stephen Weiss in a contract year coming off of season ending surgery, MacKinnon would be a big upgrade at the center position. He’s dynamic, has gifted hands, and is able to put the biscuit in the basket. *To all Oilers fans who read this post: That was a JOKE! I know for a fact the Oilers didn’t rig the Draft Lottery system I was merely trying to bring humor to this article (as if the Panthers season isn’t humorous enough….again another JOKE!) Please just laugh it off and be happy that your Oilers are actually playing decent despite the fact that they have no goaltender.  

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