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Florida Panthers ‘Restock the Cupboard’ at NHL Draft



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The Florida Panthers added six players on the second day of the NHL Draft in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The Florida Panthers added six new players to their prospect pool on Saturday’s second and final day of the NHL Draft in Las Vegas.

Florida came into the second round with five picks, but traded into the second round and added a sixth.

At the end of the day, Florida have four new forwards, a defenseman and a goalie.

“We won’t know until they get here and play,” general manager Bill Zito said. “If you would have [told] us prior to the draft that we would get these six guys, we would have been very, very happy.’’

Florida traded into the second round to select center Linus Eriksson.

The Panthers gave up next year’s second-round pick and their seventh-round pick (No. 255) to Toronto for the 58th overall selection.

Florida also traded its fifth-round pick (141) to Seattle for a sixth (169) and a seventh (201).

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Eriksson, 18, played was the captain for Team Sweden at World Juniors, winning a bronze medal.

“You have a list, right? It’s all over the place, but early on it’s easy,” Zito said of why the Panthers traded up to get Eriksson. “When we thought he might be there, we thought it would be worthwhile. We need to restock the cupboards.’’

Said Eriksson: “It’s really cool. They have a really good team, a really cool city and I am excited to be part of the team.’’

The Panthers are expected to hold a development camp as early as this week in Fort Lauderdale with most of the 2024 draft selections participating.

The other Florida picks:

D Matvei Shuravin (third round, 97th overall): The 18-year-old played in 11 games with CSKA Moskva (KHL) and in 22 games with Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL) last season. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound native of Moscow, had two points in his first season with CSKA Moskva.

F Simon Zether (fourth, 129): The 18-year-old played in 42 games with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League, posting four points (0-4-4). The 6-foot-3, 187-pound native of Helsingborg, Sweden earned a silver medal at the 2023 World Junior U18 Championships with two points in seven tournament games.

F Stepan Gorbunov (sixth, 169): At 6-foot-5, the 17-year-old played 40 games with Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk (MHL), producing 22 points (10-12-22) in the regular season and three points in 10 games during the postseason (2-1-3).

F Hunter St. Martin (sixth, 193): A native of Edmonton, the 19-year-old had 52 points of 24 goals for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. He spent the past three seasons with Medicine Hat, amassing 74 points (32-42-74) over 144 games.

G Denis Gabdrakhmanov (seventh, 201): The 19-year-old dressed in 40 games with Tyumenski Legion, posting a 2.55/.924. The native of Nizhny Tagil, Russia, tied for the MHL lead for most games played by a goaltender in 2023-24.

More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Panthers:

  • Stanley Cup Championship Parade, Fort Lauderdale: Today, 11 a.m.
  • NHL Free Agency: Monday
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Early July
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: TBA

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