In the 2005 NHL Entry Draft the
Florida Panthers chose eight players that they hope will be able to make an impact in
the years to come. They selected four forwards, two defenseman and two
goaltenders. Five of the players selected were Americans, two Canadians and one
Kenndal McArdle, LW
Round 1, 20th overall
Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Panthers traded up to be able to select Kenndal McArdle 20th overall in the first
round, giving up the
29th selection to the Philadelphia Flyers and a 2006 pick. This hardworking
winger has enjoyed much success in Moose Jaw where he has been a fan favorite, both
for his on-ice efforts and off-ice character. He was also the team’s leading
scorer with 74 points in the 2004-05 season. While the Warriors had a tough
start to the season, which resulted in a coaching change, McArdle stepped up to
become a leader in the dressing room and rallied his team to put up wins, and
eventually, make the playoffs.
His performance at the 2005 CHL Top
Prospects game was a strong one and this led to more attention from scouts and
admiration from his coach and his peers. Capping off an impressive season,
McArdle was one of 44 players invited to the Canadian Junior Development Camp.
Noted as a hardworking player who is
a great skater, McArdle has good hockey sense and also brings a toughness to his
game. Not one to back down from a challenge, he will support his teammates. He is
also tough to contain in a one-on-one situations and will make smart, quick
will likely spend a few more years
developing his skills in the WHL and then move on to the AHL.
Tyler Plante, G
Round 2, 32nd overall
Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
With their second choice in the draft,
the Panthers selected another prospect out of the WHL, Tyler Plante. The Brandon
Wheat Kings goaltender was selected 32nd overall, and this could be attributed to
the stellar rookie season he had in 2004-05. He had 34 wins during the season,
good for third overall in the league. He also set a new Wheat King record with
six shutouts on the season, besting the five that Minnesota prospect Josh
Harding put up the year before. Plante struggled a bit in the playoffs, but
still managed to help lead his team to the WHL final against the Kelowna
has good size at 6’2 and 191 lbs., and is a technically sound goaltender.
He plays the angles well and will challenge shooters aggressively. He will
continue to work on his skills in
the WHL next season and will be looking to continue his strong play from
Dan Collins, RW
Round 3, 90th overall
Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
In the third round the Panthers
selected Dan Collins from the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. He has been a
consistent player for the Whalers and more than doubled his point production in
2004-05 from the previous season. He has also spent time on the national team,
helping the Americans win a gold medal at the Compuware 4-Nations Cup last
November and also played for the U-18 team at the World Junior Championships.
is good at a lot of things and can be utilized on the power play and
the penalty kill. He lacks
the consistency to be the best player on the ice, but does have a strong, hard
shot. With more determination, he could become a very strong player.
Olivier Legault, LW
fourth round Florida selected a product out of the QMJHL, Olivier Legault from
the Lewiston MAINEiacs, 93rd overall. He is not an offensive threat, with only
one goal in two and a half seasons, and six points in total. His highs come in the penalty minute category where he had 131 minutes in 2004-05.
has been in the enforcer role throughout his career and his size, at 6’5
and 238 lbs., makes him well suited for this role. A calm and respected player
on the ice, he will likely be with Lewiston for another two years and will be
looking to improve his game in all areas in order to make it to the next level.
Matt Duffy, D
Round 4, 104th overall
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
that saw Darcy Hordichuk go to the Nashville Predators gave the Panthers a
second fourth round selection with which they used to pick defenseman Matt
Duffy, 104th overall. A member of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs of the EJHL,
Duffy has good size and speed and will continue to develop his skills for the
next few years at the University of Maine where he has committed to play.
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Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
fifth round the Panthers selected Brian Foster, their second goaltender of the
draft, 161st overall. Foster, a teammate of the Panthers previous pick in the
draft, Matt Duffy, he helped to lead the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs to the
league championship last season. Foster plays consistent in net and stays calm,
not getting rattled in pressure situations.
Foster was selected by the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL draft, he has received a
full scholarship to the University of New Hampshire and is expected to join the
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Roman Derlyuk, D
Round 6, 164th overall
St. Petersburg-2 (Russia)
In the sixth round Florida chose
Roman Derlyuk, 164th overall. At 6’3 and 193 lbs., this defenseman is
known for being a physical player and not known to put a lot of points on the
board. Last season he had three assists in 51 games with Spartak St. Petersburg
in his native Russia.
Zach Bearson, RW
Round 7, 224th overall
Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
With their last selection of the 2005
draft, the Panthers selected Zach Bearson, 224th overall. He has steadily
improved on his game each year. This highly touted power forward helped the
Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL win their first ever Clark Cup championship in
2003-04. Bearson has also enjoyed success in international competition, he
played on the U.S. U-17 team that won a gold medal at the Five Nations
tournament in 2002 and was a member of Team World at the 2005
USHL Prospects/All-Star game in Grand Forks, ND.
A strong, power
forward, Bearson will go into the corners to work for the puck. A leader who
works hard on the ice, he has good hockey sense and is strong around the net. He
will continue to develop in Waterloo for one more year, and then will join the
University of Wisconsin in 2006.
Aaron Vickers, Guy Flaming, Jason Ahrens, and
Cedric Lizotte contributed to this article. Copyright 2005 Hockey’s