The first-round pick of any NHL draft can instantly change the complexion of any team, especially the Tampa Bay Lightning. Over the course of five seasons, the opening-round selection can be the difference between a dynasty and a period of darkness.
The Lightning have used their first-round pick to draft players like Vincent Lecavalier, Paul Mara and Roman Hamrlik to name a few. But, recent high-profile draft picks haven’t helped Tampa Bay become that perennial power.
As the 2013 draft approaches, we look back on the first selection from each of the last five seasons and re-grade the picks based on production, potential and consistency.