Three questions with the Panthers
Talk about your decision to draft Derrick LaPoint in the fourth round.
Luce: Derrick LaPoint is a guy who came out of nowhere this season. A couple of our scouts saw him in early October and they liked him enough to call me out there right away -- just to make sure that he was what they thought. When I saw him, I said "Guys, this guy is a pretty special kid. Lets try to keep him under the wraps. Don't be talking about him." But he was such a dominant player at his level that eventually Minnesota scouts started going over to Wisconsin to watch him. By the end of the year, you knew he was going to be a draft pick. He was invited to the combine, which means he was a prospect of interest for more than one team.
What do you like about him?
Luce: He's big, athletic, and he skates very well. He's got a lot of natural hockey instincts that you can easily see when he's playing compared to the level he's playing against. He's got a lot of upside. He's a very athletic young man.
Are you surprised he dropped to you in the fourth?
Luce: We were definitely surprised. That's why we made the trade to move up and get him. We thought he'd be a third, maybe an early fourth. When he started to go a little bit longer in the fourth, we made the move.