Saturday, June 21, 2008

Panthers' Draft Day Wraps Up

What began as an optimistic draft day for me has turned into cautious, albeit doubtful hope that we made the right decions in this year's draft. Heading into the draft, we learned we had traded away our leading goal gettter and captain for two stalwart defenseman. OK, makes sense. Our defense has been lacking, at best, for the better part of 3 seasons. We needed a change. But knowing this, you would think the actual draft would bring in some new scoring talent to replace the kids we will have to bring up next season (Matthias and Frolik).

Instead, the Panthers drafted a goaltender (#31 overall Jacob Markstrom), 3 defensemen (#46 Colby Robak, #80 Adam Comrie, #190 Matthew Bartkowski), and 1 winger (#100 A.J. Janks). No centers, no offensive threats that will develop in Rochester. Our new netminder, Swedish phenom Jacob Markstrom, will spend the next 2 seasons in the Swedish Elite League, where he's played the last 2 seasons. He will be a #1 goaltender in the NHL in sooner rather than later. The lone forward we drafted came with our 4th pick in the draft. Janks actually sounds like a promising prospect. He played in the Ontario Hockey League last year with the Plymouth Whalers, where he tallied 26 goals-29 assists-55 points playing in 66 games. In the All-Star skills competition, he registered the 2nd hardest shot at 94 mph. He also played for Team USA's U-18 team at the international Hlinka tournament.

The best things that can be said about Janks comes from his coach in Plymouth. "He’s got good size and probably has one of the best shots in the league, from a wrist shot or snap-shot perspective. He needs to work on his lateral movement and stops and starts, but that will come with experience."

Now if only we had drafted another one (or two) of these types instead of 3 more defenseman that likely will spend most of their Panthers career struggling to make the roster. While draftees Rob Belak and Adam Comrie sound like they could become NHL defensemen, they probably will stay in the minors for awhile. I mean we just traded for 2 starting blueliners, why draft 3 more?

So here's what I'm thinking. Our depth at the forward position is all youth. With that much youth on our NHL team, you would think we'd be set for at least a couple seasons with the talent we have. Our affiliate in Rochester may suffer to score goals, but let's face it, who cares? At defense, our youth is a little more suspect. Beyond Bouwmeester, there isn't much in the way of prospects on the blueline. Now there are. Maybe JM knows something we don't, maybe they have something brewing in the free agency. Until the market opens up, we'll just have to sit on our hands and try to digest today's events.


Imber said...

Don't forget Keaton Ellerby as a main defensive prospect.

I'm still quite nervous as to where our scoring is going to come from this year, and I agree that it is ludacris that we only drafted one forward.

Loft said...

There was nobody we could have drafted outside of the top 5 that could have helped at all on the offensive side. Very rarely will you find a player who is NHL ready in the draft, so even if we did draft a forward with out first pick at 31, the chances that he would be with the Cats before 2010 are slim to none.