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October 28, 2011 | 11:47am ET
Gudbranson staying in Florida

The Florida Panthers made the decision to keep rookie defenseman Erik Gudbranson during Thursday's morning skate, hours before they faced the Senators in the blueliner's hometown of Ottawa.

According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen made the announcement to the entire roster during practice, causing all players to congratulate the 19-year-old on the ice. His father Wayne stood speechless in the stands, overwhelmed by emotions.

"It's exciting and I'm really pumped," Gudbranson told reporters. "It was nice my dad was in the crowd for morning skate, so he got to see it. As much as it's a dream for me I'm pretty sure it's twice as exciting to see his kid do that and I give [my family] all the credit in the world."

In Thursday's contest, Gudbranson was on the ice for 11 minutes and 51 seconds and recorded a shot on goal in a 4-3 loss.

In 44 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL last season, Gudbranson collected 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points, and 105 penalty minutes.

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