The player the Canucks wanted with the 25th pick was not available, apparently, so Mike Gillis traded that pick to the Florida Panthers in a deal that was rumored all evening long. With that 25th pick, Florida made their third first round selection of the evening by taking Quinton Howden from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.
There aren't really any safe bets in the draft - at least not after the third or fourth pick - but Quinton is as close to one as a team may get in the mid-to late first round. Not overly spectacular offensively although he posted some very solid numbers with the Moose Jaw Warriors and helped them with a major improvement this season He's probably never going to be a 1st or even second line forward, but he does have the potential to be a very dependable third line winger that can add the odd bit of offense while at the same time playing capable defense. Good penalty killer as well and will do what it takes to help his team win. Has the potential to be the next Stu Barnes (And Stu himself was a 4th overall pick back in 1989)
If you subscribe to the idea of drafting the best talent available, then it's likely there will be someone at 11 that has more upside than Howden. While Quinton is a solid skater while he can be a bit of a scoring threat, his finishing ability lacks behind other potential draftees, nor is he an overly accomplished puck handler although again it's not exactly a weakness of his game either. He needs to work on his patience on the ice and fill out his 6 foot 3 inch frame... In short he's a long term prospect and there are others that may be available that might not need the time Howden does.
Head to Litter Box Cats as they analyze all three Panthers picks tonight.