Panthers not ruling out possibility of trading first pick: GM

Kingston Frontenac Sam Bennett and Barrie Colt Aaron Ekblad. (QMI Agency)

Kingston Frontenac Sam Bennett and Barrie Colt Aaron Ekblad. (QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:13 PM ET

The Florida Panthers, who hold the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft, are "open for business."

According to Florida general manager Dale Tallon, the team is, at the very least, thinking about dealing the top position in June's draft.

"Well, why not?" Tallon told Sportsnet 590 The Fan in a candid interview on Thursday.

"I'm looking at everything. I'm open for business. You have three options, you either take it, move back, or trade it. So that's what we're looking at. What's the best deal for our future, that's the key."

The Panthers finished with a 29-45-8 record in the 2013-14 regular season. They missed the playoffs but won the league's draft lottery despite finishing ahead of the Buffalo Sabres in the standings.

Although the draft class isn't being praised by scouts for its depth, there are a number of intriguing options for the Panthers -- if they do choose to hold onto the top selection.

Sam Bennett, a winger from Holland Landing, Ont., grabbed the No. 1 spot among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final draft rankings. Meanwhile, Finnish winger Kasperi Kapanen, son of former NHLer Sami Kapanen, finished atop the European skaters list.

Burly defenceman Aaron Ekblad, of Belle River, Ont., is widely considered to be the best defenceman in the 2014 crop.

At the 2013 draft, the Panthers snagged forward Aleksander Barkov with the second overall pick. In his rookie season, the Tampere, Finland, native recorded eight goals and 16 assists in 54 games.


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