The Florida Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft, but there’s a chance a different team could begin the festivities June 27.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told reporters Wednesday before Game 4 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final that the team is “very open” to dealing the top selection.
“We’re looking to make a move that benefits our franchise, end of story,” Tallon said, per Dan Rosen of NHL.com. “It has to be the right thing, and the chances of it happening, I don’t know how great they are. What’s the value? What’s the cost to move up? That’s what we’re trying to figure out right now.”
Tallon recently said that he’s received one “fair offer” for the top pick. The prize at the top of the draft is Barrie Colts (OHL) defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
Unlike most young defenseman, the 18-year-old is NHL-ready because of his polished two-way skill set and physical frame. Given the lack of quality D-men in the 2014 free-agent class, trading up to acquire Ekblad is a smart option for several teams.
The Panthers need a franchise defenseman, but they have many holes to fill on their roster. Trading the No. 1 pick to acquire a package of players, prospects and/or draft picks could accelerate the team’s ongoing rebuild.