Panthers | NHL Draft Lottery

Florida Panthers win draft lottery, will have No. 1 overall pick in 2014 NHL Entry Draft

 
 
Crowds of people pour through the doors as the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise opens its door to the public for the first time with Hockeyfest '98 on Sept. 19, 1998. Pictured is Panthers player Ed Jovanovski with mascot, Stanley C. Panther, after the unveiling of the new Panthers jersey.
Crowds of people pour through the doors as the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise opens its door to the public for the first time with Hockeyfest '98 on Sept. 19, 1998. Pictured is Panthers player Ed Jovanovski with mascot, Stanley C. Panther, after the unveiling of the new Panthers jersey.
Bob Eighmie / Staff Photo

grichards@MiamiHerald.com

The Florida Panthers didn’t seem to have much luck this past season but things went their way on Tuesday night.

The Panthers won the NHL’s annual draft lottery and will have the first overall pick in the upcoming draft this June.

This was the third time in franchise history the Panthers won the annual lottery. In 2002 and 2003, Florida traded its top pick.

Last year, Florida finished last in the league but watched Colorado jump it in the lottery and pick first. On Tuesday, the Panthers hopped Buffalo.

The Panthers had a nearly 19 percent chance of winning the lottery; Buffalo had a 25 percent chance.

Florida has had a top three pick in four of the past five years. The Panthers haven’t actually picked first since taking Ed Jovanovski in 1994.

“This is a chance for us to build on our top core players,’’ said Travis Viola, the team’s Vice President for hockey operations who represented the Panthers at the made-for-TV event in Toronto.

What Florida does with the pick is not known. This isn’t considered a draft with a game-changing player and general manager Dale Tallon recently said he would entertain offers for Florida’s spot.

If the Panthers do keep the pick, expect top-end defenseman Aaron Ekblad or forwards Samuel Bennett Sam Reinhart to be considered.

Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center will play host to this summer’s draft June 27-28.

The Panthers will host the draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise next year.

Read more Florida Panthers stories from the Miami Herald

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