When the Predators leave for Florida this morning around 8 am, they will be facing a Panthers team that includes several top rated picks from this summers NHL Entry Draft. Florida picked six of the top fifty players chosen in Los Angeles and ten of the top 99.
Four of the top fifty will be suiting up for the Panther rookies tonight. Those include Erik Gudbranson (3), Quinton Howden (25), Josh McFarland (33), and Alexander Petrovic (36).
Gudbranson is the cream of the crop of Florida's picks. While he remains a long shot to make the team out of camp, he will get a long look before being sent back to juniors for another year.
There was so much hype about Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin at the draft that many folks did not notice that Gudbranson was the consensus number three pick in most expert projections. Within a few years, his name may be mentioned in the same breath as Keith, Doughty, Green and Weber. It will be interesting to see how he plays in his first two games against the Predators.
Here is a video that we made of Gudbranson at the draft when he spoke to the press a few minutes after being drafted third overall.
Other stories on the Panther squad that the Preds will play comes from Litter Box Cats, the Sun Sentinel and The Miami Herald.
In Pred Nation...
Amanda at Predlines has the story of the rookies first skate at camp and came away impressed with a couple of prospects in particular.
Josh Cooper spoke with Austin Watson about team chemistry and also has the latest on defenseman, Roman Josi, who is playing in North America for the first time this season.
Jim Diamond has the story of Pred's prospect Craig Smith being named the assistant captain at Wisconsin.
Sam at PredsBlog is double timing it to get through Patric Hornqvist's 30 goals and presents number 11.
Matt Reitz continues with his preseason division assessments and takes on our own Central Division today. Section 303's Jeremy Gover carries the flag for the Predators.
The Preds made the TSN 30 in 30 yesterday. Forechecker reports that TSN picked the Preds 19th, showing little respect for the team as usual.
Around the NHL...
Rich Chere reports that the New Jersey Devils will not appeal the $3 million fine and draft pick penalties accessed against them by the NHL earlier this week.
The NHL Board of Governors met yesterday and approved the change in the year-end tie breaking formula where shoot-out wins will not be included in the tie-breaker format.
The Ducks finally got Bobby Ryan's name on a contract which will average $5.1 million over the next five years.
Launy "The" Schwartz was on the premiere of The Score's Drafted 2 last night in Canada and also visited with Millian on BlueLine Radio yesterday afternoon. Here is the interview. Also, the first episode of The Score's Drafted 2 aired last night. I have not seen the show but it should be posted here at some point today. I don't think anyone was eliminated in the first episode, so it remains "The" Schwartz agsint the other nine contestants.
The NHL/NHLPA media tour of New York continues today with the elite touring various places in the big apple. Shea Weber is there to represent the Predators.
A big NHL media event is scheduled for 10 a.m. today in Ottawa where it is expected that the Senators will be awarded the 2011-2012 All-Star Game. NHL Network will carry the announcement live.
Rob Higgins has an update on the goalie numbers that complement and update his recently released Hockey Fantasy Index book.
On a very tired topic, Peter Forsberg has yet again said an NHL comeback is still a possibility.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass