Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning hopes to win NHL draft lottery

If Vinny Lecavalier is near a television at 8 o'clock tonight, the Lightning's star center said he will be sure to click on the draft lottery.

After finishing last in the 30-team league, Tampa Bay has a 48.2 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, with which it almost certainly would select center Steve Stamkos, this year's most highly regarded prospect.

"You don't want to finish last. But the season is over now, and we have a great chance to get a franchise player," Lecavalier said. "I'm excited."

The lottery, televised in the United States on Versus and the NHL Network, was a hot topic in the locker room before Saturday's finale with the Thrashers.

With the draft considered deep, there was a sense Tampa Bay could pick up an NHL-ready player even without the first pick.

But Stamkos, with 58 goals, 105 points and 88 penalty minutes in 61 games for Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League, is the prize; not only for his potential, but because he fits the profile for a Lightning team desperate for scoring depth.

Drew Doughty of OHL Guelph and Zach Bogosian of OHL Peterborough are the second- and third-ranked North American prospects after Stamkos, but both are defensemen. Kyle Beach, a center from Everett of the Western Hockey League is next, but he has well-documented issues controlling his on-ice emotions.

Nikita Filatov, a left wing for Russia's Central Army team, is the top European prospect. But the lack of a transfer agreement between the NHL and Russian Hockey Federation makes drafting him problematic.

Which brings us back to Stamkos, 18, a 6-foot, 170-pound, right-handed shot from Unionville, Ontario, near Toronto.

"He sounds like he's a stud," Lightning center Jeff Halpern said. "These kids are so good right now, so early, they can make an impact right away."

Because general manager Jay Feaster is busy with today's player meetings, Dave Andreychuk will represent the Lightning at the lottery in Toronto.

Feaster joked (we think) about the pressure on the former Lightning captain.

"If we were successful in having the No. 1 pick, it would be huge," Feaster said.

Said goaltender Mike Smith: "It's bigger now than it used to be because your draft picks make the team. Hopefully, we'll get an impact player."

Exactly why Lecavalier said he will be watching.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

>>draft lottery

When: 8 tonight

TV: Versus

Who: 14 nonplayoff teams

Lightning wins top pick if: Its balls come up. But because teams can move up only four spots, it also gets the top pick if a team not among the worst five wins. That's the: Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Leafs, Panthers, Blackhawks, Oilers, Canucks, Sabres and Hurricanes.

Lightning hopes to win NHL draft lottery 04/06/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.