Biggest Takeaways from Tampa Bay Lightning's 2013 NHL Draft
All of the speculation surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013 NHL draft came and went in a hurry on June 30. Every pick is in, and the Bolts have a few things to take away from the draft festivities.
The No. 3 pick put Tampa Bay in a strong position to select a player who could make an immediate impact on the team. It could have been Seth Jones or Valeri Nichushkin, but the Lightning had other plans.
With weaknesses to address on the blue line and up the middle, the Bolts attacked this draft in an interesting way. Here is what to take away from the Lightning’s 2013 draft.
Jonathan Drouin Was the Guy
Three of the Lightning’s draft targets were still available at the No. 3 spot: Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin and Valeri Nichushkin. But the Lightning grabbed Drouin, proving that he was the target all along.
Last season’s Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, Drouin notched 105 points in 49 games. His offensive abilities should fill in well with the already stacked Lightning offense.
Keep an eye on which line he is featured on, as his playmaking ability should be fun to watch.
In Free Agency We Trust
The Lightning had issues on defense last season and could have immediately improved with the selection of Seth Jones. They didn’t pick a defenseman in the first round, or the second, or at all.
Now, the focus shifts to the next hectic period on the NHL calendar—free agency—that starts July 5. After the buyout of Vincent Lecavalier, the Bolts have around $10 million in salary-cap room to use this offseason.
They could have improved the blue line through the draft, but they didn’t and will now focus on outbidding other teams during free agency.
Size Is Overrated
The Tampa Bay Lightning are full of smaller, quicker forwards on every level. They furthered that depth by adding two more players under 6’0" (Jonathan Drouin, Joel Vermin).
The biggest addition to the lineup was second-round pick Adam Erne at 6’3” and 210 pounds. As a power forward with good skill, Erne could make his way onto the roster quickly given the physicality of the Lightning’s new division.
Make a Mark...and Fill a Void
The six draft picks and other prospects have less than a week before they make their first impression with the organization. Prospect camp will be held July 6 through July 10 and will be the first opportunity to display talent to the coaching staff.
The Bolts draft picks will be competing for training camp invitations and to fill the void left behind this offseason by the loss of players like Vincent Lecavalier and Benoit Pouliot.
Tampa Bay will have a very competitive prospect camp this season thanks to the addition of highly skilled players in this year’s draft. But, did the Bolts do enough to compete in the division next season?