NHL Draft War Room: Tampa Bay Lightning

Jonathan Drouin

Jonathan Drouin could be a future dream linemate of Steven Stamkos [photo: David Chan]

by Eldon MacDonald

Potential Tampa Bay Lightning Picks

The purpose of this article is to give readers a feel for what the Tampa Bay Lightning might be looking for in the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey and to provide some idea as to who may be available and picked with each draft selection. To give the reader a fairly wide range of information, we have provided the following:

  • Major Needs
  • Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks
  • The Major Team Decision Makers
  • The Big Club – Current Roster
  • Top 10 Prospects
  • The Last Three Drafts

Other Posts in This Series (THW’s War Room Final Rankings)

You can use these posts to get more information on a player ranked 1 to 120 including the following on most prospects:

  • Nicknames
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Quotes
  • Twitter
  • Stats

Major Needs

1 – Replacement for Martin St.Louis – No, Martin is not out of the picture yet but you want someone else in place when he finally slows down. It usually takes even a high-end  draftee two to three years to be ready to take over. You don’t want to keep Steven Stamkos waiting.

2 – Shutdown defenseman with grit – Other than the occasional big hit from Radko Gudas, it is pretty tame on the back end.

3 –Grit on the front-end – Yes, TampaBay has offense but they need some sandpaper up front to make the offense more effective at even strength.

4 – Best player available – Best player available is always a good pick. However, when there are many players of similar value, it is usually the one who has the qualities your team values the most that comes out on top.

Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks

Round 1; pick 3 (The numbers in brackets are my rankings)

  • Preference 1 – Jonathan Drouin (#3)
  • Preference 2 – Valeri Nichushkin (#5)
  • Preference 3 – Aleksander Barkov (#4)

Since Jones and MacKinnon are likely gone to Colorado and Florida, TampaBay is likely stuck with the perfect pick for them even if the other two were available. Sure Stevie Y likes his Russians and will likely consider Valeri Nichushkin, it is still inconceivable to me that he will bypass Jonathan Drouin and the 50, 60, 70 goals a year that he could set up Steven Stamkos for over the next 10 to 15 years.

Round 2: Pick 33 – Historical success rate = 33%

  • Preference 1 – JT Compher(#38)
  • Preference 2 – Dillon Heatherington (#43)
  • Preference 3 – Ian McCoshen (#36)

Potentially available starting at 27 and ending at 38 are: Madison Bowey, Mirco Mueller, Chris Bigras, Morgan Klimchuk, Robert Hagg, Shea Theodore, Zach Fucale, Ian McCoshen, Justin Bailey and JT Compher – also Dillon Heatherington at 43. There is quite a bit of talent in this group and a team would be lucky with any one of them. However, JT Compher, a small but gritty center, or Dillon Heatherington, a 6’4 maybe 6’5 hard to play against d-man, would be my first choices for Tampa Bay in this group.

Round 5: Pick 124 – Historical success rate = 11%

Potentially available starting at 121 and ending at 129 are: Carter Verhaeghe, Tyler Lewington, Alexandre Coulombe, Marcus Högberg, Connor Rankin, Cole Cassels, Spencer Jensen, Luke Johnson and Ben Harpur.  At 124, you have a one in ten chance of hitting oil. Personally, at this stage I would go for the gusher and select the 6’5 Ben Harpur. Carter Verhaeghe, however, is a safer choice and he will get big time minutes next year in Niagara Falls with Ryan Strome gone – played very good at times in the playoffs this year.

Round 6: Pick 154 – Historical success rate = 9%

Round 7: Pick 184 – Historical success rate = 10%

Round 7: Pick 186 – Historical success rate = 10%

  • Me 90 – NHL 156 – Matt Murphy
  • Me 97 – NHL 211 – Peter Trainor (3rd time available)
  • Me 109 – NHL NR – Jesse Lees
  • Me 114 – NHL 230 – Miro Aaltonen (3rd time available)
  • Me 119 – NHL >290 – Markus Søberg
  • Me 124 – NHL 200 – Marcus Högberg
  • Me 125 – NHL 165 – Cole Cassels
  • Me 131 – NHL 175 – Steven Harpur
  • Me unranked – NHL Unranked – Albert Yarullin (3rd time available)
  • Me unranked – NHL Unranked – Mitchell Theoret (re-entry prospect)

It is virtually impossible to tell who might be available from 154 on  so what I did was list those personnel who I have ranked in the 3rd and 4th rounds which the NHL has ranked greater than 154that still have a decent chance of still being available. As this is as good time as any to make sure you take the best player available, I have listed the prospects in ranking order. I have also added Albert Yarullin, Nikita Nesterov’s(148 – 2011) usual defense partner on Russian international teams, who has a big shot on the power play and Mitchell Theoret (6’2, 212) who looked very good for Barrie in the OHL playoffs.

The Major Team Decision Makers

1 – General Manager: Steve Yzerman

2 – Head Scout: Al Murray

3 – Coach: Jon Cooper

The Big Club – Current Roster


Left Wing


Right Wing


Ryan Malone

Steven Stamkos

Martin St. Louis


Benoit Pouliot

Vincent Lecavalier

Teddy Purcell


Alex Killorn

Nate Thompson

Brett Connolly


Richard Panik

Tom Pyatt

BJ Crombeen


Pierre-Cedric Labrie

Dana Tyrell






Nikita Kucherov

Vladislav Namestnikov

Brian Hart


Tyler Johnson









Victor Hedman

Ben Bishop


Eric Brewer

Sami Salo

Anders Lindback


Keith Aulie

Matthew Carle

Mathieu Garon








Nikita Nesterov

Slater Koekkoek

Andrei Vasilevsky


Mark Barberio

Dylan Blujus

Jaroslav Janus

Top 10 Prospects

Slater Koekkoek (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

Slater Koekkoek (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

1 – 2011 – 058 – Nikita Kucherov

2 – 2012 – 010 – Slater Koekkoek

3 – 2012 – 019 – Andrei Vasilevsky

4 – 2009 – 027 – Vladislav Namestnikov

5 – 2011 – 148 – Nikita Nesterov

6 – 2009 – 162 – Jaroslav Janus

7 – 2008 – 152 – Mark Barberio

8 – 2008 – FA – Tyler Johnson

9– 2012 – 40 – Dylan Blujus

10 – 2012 – 52 – Brian Hart

The Last Three Drafts






010 Slater Koekkoek027 Vlad Namestnikov006 Brett Connolly


019 Andrei Vasilevsky058 Nikita Kucherov063 Brock Beukeboom


040 Dylan Blujus148 Nikita Nesterov066 RadkoGudas


053 Brian Hart178 Adam Wilcox072 Adam Janosik


071 Tanner Richard201 Matthew Peca096 Geoffrey Schemitsch


101 Cedric Paquette208 OndrejPalat156 Brendan O’Donnell


161 Jake Dotchin189 Teigan Zahn


202 Nikita Gusev

Christopher Ralph

  • Mathieu

    Where do these prospect ranking come from? just wondering why Nikita Kucherov would be ranked so high? Koekkoek in front of Vasilevski?

  • Fitz

    Greg Malone? You may want to add finding a replacement for him to the team’s needs since I beieve he’s in his late fifties.

    • http://thehockeywriters.com/author/cralph Christopher Ralph

      Greg obviously was supposed to be Ryan (Greg is the father; Eldon had a hockey flashback). Thanks for picking up on it. It’s now corrected.