Hockey News: Lightning Look to Tie Stanley Cup Final Series

Regardless of who wins the Stanley Cup Final, both teams have little time to prepare for the upcoming draft.

With the Chicago Blackhawks leading the series 3-2, Game 6 will be played Monday night at United Center in downtown Chicago. If the Tampa Bay Lightning can pull out a victory on the road, Game 7 will be played Wednesday night at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

The Blackhawks and Lightning will meet for Game 6 in Chicago tonight.
The Blackhawks and Lightning will meet for Game 6 in Chicago tonight.

The NHL’s focus will then shift to the Stanley Cup parade (wherever that happens to be), followed by the 2015 NHL Awards Show next Wednesday, June 24. The biggest event, though, is the following weekend with the NHL Entry Draft taking place in Sunrise, Florida.

The first 28 draft positions are finalized, while the last two spots are awaiting the end of the playoffs. The Stanley Cup winner receives the 30th and final spot.

Both the Blackhawks and Lightning have moved their first-round selections, as the Arizona Coyotes have Chicago’s pick, acquired in the deal that sent Antoine Vermette to the Blackhawks, while the Philadelphia Flyers possess Tampa Bay’s pick, acquired in the trade that put Braydon Coburn in a Tampa Bay jersey.

Although the last two first-round positions are not exactly the most coveted, this year’s draft is expected to be one of the deepest in recent history. Picking 29th ahead of 30th may be a difference maker for future success.

Here’s a quick look at the 29th and 30th picks from recent drafts:

Draft Year Selected 29th Selected 30th
2014 Adrian Kempe (LAK) John Quenneville (NJD)
2013 Jason Dickinson (DAL) Ryan Hartman (CHI)
2012 Stefan Matteau (NJD) Tanner Pearson (LAK)
2011 Nicklas Jensen (VAN) Rickard Rakell (ANA)
2010 Emerson Etem (ANA) Brock Nelson (NYI)
2009 Carter Ashton (TBL) Simon Despres (PIT)
2008 Daultan Levielle (ATL) Thomas McCollum (DET)
2007 Jim O’Brian (OTT) Nick Ross (PHX)
2006 Chris Summers (PHX) Matthew Corrente (NJD)

As plainly seen, these two picks have not resulted in direct NHL impact as of yet. The two biggest hits have been Etem and Despres (who, ironically, both play for the Pacific champion Anaheim Ducks), while players such as Kempe work on transitioning to professional hockey.

Although the entire hockey world is watching what could be the final game of the 2015 playoffs tonight, Arizona’s and Philadelphia’s draft teams might be keeping a closer eye than you may expect. With such players as Alexander Dergachyov, Jacob Larsson and Nicolas Meloche.

[See related: THW’s Rd. 1 Mock Draft]

Regardless of the outcome, the Lightning will pick at No. 28, as they control the New York Rangers’ pick as part of the trade that sent Martin St. Louis to Manhattan. Both the Blackhawks and Lightning do control second-round selections, as Tampa Bay is slated to pick at No. 44 while the Blackhawks will pick at No. 54.

Although the entire hockey world’s eye will be on the game this evening, Arizona’s and Philadelphia’s draft teams may be paying closer attention than some may expect.

Prepare for Game 6, as well as catch up on all the NHL headlines with today’s hockey news:

The Blackhawks’ experience is what has them up one game in the series. [Chicago Tribune]

The Avalanche are reportedly listening to offers for Ryan O’Reilly. [Pro Hockey Talk]

Sabres Avs
Ryan O’Reilly (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Manchester Monarchs won the 2015 Calder Cup. [The Hockey News]

Featured THW post: Did you catch the Maple Leafs’ Twitter battle? If not check it out here. [The Hockey Writers]

There will be new streaming options for fans outside of NHL cities starting next season. [Puck Daddy]

Drew Stafford may remain in Winnipeg. [Today’s Slapshot]

Peter DeBoer wants to improve Sharks’ PK, five-on-five play. [Fear The Fin]

A look back at the other times the Predators moved their first-round selection. [On The Forecheck]