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2015 NHL Draft In Pictures

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We hope everyone had a good time at the 2015 NHL draft. Sunshine State Hockey would like to thank the Florida Panthers and the National Hockey League for hosting a very memorable event, and for putting our favorite team at the front of the hockey world for two days. Please enjoy these pictures taken by us during draft weekend.

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What To Know Before The Draft

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The 2015 NHL entry draft is just days away, and the Florida Panthers have the privilege of playing host to one of the most anticipated drafts since Sidney Crosby was selected first overall by Pittsburgh in 2005. Another superstar is about to emerge, with center Connor McDavid being touted as the obvious first choice by the Edmonton Oilers. Of course, as most people know, there is a lot more to the draft than just young men realizing their lifelong dream. The following is everything fans need to know to prepare themselves for the festivities that will take place on Friday and Saturday.

The Top 30

First, let’s talk about the prospects. McDavid is already a household name, but what about the other 29 prospects that could hear their names called in the first round? Here is the complete list of the top 30 North American skaters available:

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To see the full list of skaters and goaltenders from North America and Europe, click here.

Round 1 Draft Order

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Trade Bait

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One of the most exciting parts of any draft day are the trades. Every year at least one team pulls the trigger on a blockbuster deal in hopes to improve their team. Last year it was Anaheim who bolstered their lineup on draft day by acquiring Ryan Kesler from Vancouver. His contributions helped his new team reach the Western Conference finals before falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Fast forward to this weekend’s draft and there are plenty of big names available for the taking. The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to unload their two biggest stars, Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, while the Chicago Blackhawks need to shed salary, and they may look to do so by trading Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell. Other names being mentioned in trade talks include Cam Talbot (NYR), Milan Lucic (BOS), and Eric Staal (CAR). TSN has compiled an entire list of players that are rumored to be up for grabs this weekend, which can be seen here.

Schedule of Events

Finally, the Florida Panthers are doing their best to provide a fantastic weekend for everyone attending the 2015 NHL entry draft. From autograph signings to trading card shows there will be something for everyone on Friday and Saturday. For the entire schedule of events just look below.

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For any other questions about the draft fans can refer to draft central, a web portal created by the Florida Panthers. Round one of the 2015 National Hockey League entry draft takes place this Friday, June 26th, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.

Panthers Release 2015-2016 Preseason Schedule

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Yesterday the Florida Panthers released the preseason schedule for their upcoming 2015-2016 campaign. The Panthers will play in six preseason games, four on the road and two at home, against the Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Nashville will host Florida in what has become their annual double header, with two games on September 20th. The entire schedule can be seen below.

Florida Panthers vs Nashville Predators – 4:30 PM, September 20th, 2015 (Bridgestone Arena)

Florida Panthers vs Nashville Predators – 8:00 PM, September 20th, 2015 (Bridestone Arena)

Dallas Stars vs Florida Panthers – 7:30 PM, September 22nd, 2015 (BB&T Center)

Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning – 7:30 PM, September 25th, 2015 (Amalie Arena)

Florida Panthers vs Dallas Stars – 8:00 PM, September 27th, 2015 (American Airlines Center)

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers – 7:00 PM, October 3rd, 2015 (BB&T Center)

Top Five Moments Of The 14/15 Season – #1

Capitals Panthers HockeyToday Florida takes to the ice to play their final game of the 2014-2015 season. In honor of their much improved year we have been counting down the top five moments from this campaign. From a night honoring a 43 year old legend to the first NHL goal of a 19 year old’s career, this season has been full of memorable moments. While all the events on the top five list were impressive none of them come close to the historical 20 round shootout that took place against the Washington Capitals on December 16th, 2014.

#1 – A Shootout For The Ages

The Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers entered the game on December 16th thinking it was going to be just another typical contest against former SouthEast Division foes, boy were they wrong. After regulation ended tied 1-1, with goals from forwards Troy Brouwer and Darek MacKenzie, the teams would head to overtime and eventually the shootout. Florida sent out their SO regulars, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, and Brad Boyes, while Washington used Eric Fehr, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The first three shooters for each team could not get the job done, so the shootout went to sudden death, for a record breaking 20 rounds.

BJUGSOPanthers forward Nick Bjugstad would get his second chance in the SO after both teams used all of their players. With the game on his stick Bjugstad came in and fired the puck past Washington goaltender Braden Holtby, giving Florida a win in the longest shootout in National Hockey League history. Don’t take our word for it though, just click the video below and enjoy the full length SO, courtesy of the NHL YouTube channel.

We cannot wait to see what memorable moments the Panthers create during the 2015-2016 season. How about a 30 round shootout? Florida is game if Washington is.

Top Five Moments Of The 14/15 Season – #2

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Making a statement against top tier clubs is important in the development process of any young team. The Florida Panthers made many of the NHL’s elite clubs take notice to the fact that they are a group on the rise. Florida beat plenty of the league’s top teams this season, but moment number two on the countdown focuses on two identical victories against the same organization.

#2 – Panthers Roast The Ducks x2

The Anahiem Ducks will finish 2015 as one of the top teams in the National Hockey League heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs. While their regular season was a successful one they have two large blemishes on their record, thanks to the Florida Panthers. Anahiem was defeated by Florida 6-2 at home on November 16th and 6-2 at the BB&T Center on February 10th. Two identical scores against one of the best clubs in the West.

Nick Bjugstad stole the show in Anahiem, registering two goals and two assists for his first career four point game. At home in February it was Jonathan Huberdeau’s time to shine, picking up three assists in the second 6-2 victory against the Ducks. The more glaring stat is that Florida as a team outscored Anaheim 12-4 in these two games. As long as the Panthers continue to improve and can build off their success they will start to be mentioned in the conversation of elite clubs.