Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

Adam, a 20-year NHL veteran, even took Cal into the room for Colorado's Stanley Cup celebration in 2001. Cal was 2. "I wish I could remember more," Cal said, smiling.

But Friday, the two Footes shared an unforgettable moment. Cal, a defenseman like his dad, got picked No. 14 overall by the Lightning in the first round of the draft. The father and son embraced in the United Center stands, Adam beaming with pride.

"(Adam) pretty much taught me everything I know about the game," Cal said. "To be around him, He's helped me a ton. I'm very fortunate."

The Lightning felt fortunate to land the 6-feet-4 Cal, who played for Kelowna in the junior Western League last season. The Lightning had plenty of other options at No. 14, including Swedish defenseman Timothy Liljegren and Russian power forward Klim Kostin. But general manager Steve Yzerman said that not only is Cal a great prospect, he fills an organizational need, adding another right-shot puck mover.

It was interesting that Yzerman, who had many fierce battles with Adam during the legendary Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry, picked his son.

RELATED: Lightning sets plans for 25th anniversary season.

"(Cal is) a different player from his dad. Adam Foote was mean," Yzerman said. "He was a good player, a great skater. He was mean. In watching Cal, he's a little bit more understated. He probably has a little bit more offense to his game. He's big and strong. … You can see some similarities."

Cal calls himself a two-way defenseman. He racked up 57 points in 71 games last season for Kelowna, where he played with his younger brother, Nolan, 16. Cal can play in all three zones. Yzerman believes he can eventually contribute to both special teams in the NHL.

"He can shoot it. He sees the ice and knows it really well," Yzerman said. "An all-around defenseman."

Yzerman was trying hard to acquire another defenseman via trade but said nothing was close Friday. The Wild was among the teams shopping defenseman; in its case, Marco Scandella.

But for now, the Lightning is more than happy with Foote, who joins a strong pool of young defensemen in the system. Tampa Bay last week acquired Mikhail Sergachev from Montreal in the Jonathan Drouin blockbuster. It also acquired right-shot Erik Cernak in the February Ben Bishop trade with the Kings and a pick that turned into Libor Hajek in the Anthony DeAngelo trade at last year's draft. Promising prospect Ben Thomas is at AHL Syracuse.

Foote won't be pushing for a roster spot in training camp. Cal (short for Callan), who is expected to play one more season for Kelowna, said improving the quickness in his size-16 feet is the biggest thing he needs to improve to jump to the NHL.

"I still have some room to grow, that's for sure," Foote said. "I want to make the jump whenever I'm ready for it."

Adam, who coached Cal and Nolan for three years, said he never pushed his sons to play hockey, letting it happen naturally.

"We're completely different," Adam said. "I didn't have the confidence (Cal) has as far as offensive ability. I had to muck it up and get in battles to stay in the league. He's his own guy, and I'm just proud of him."

Cal said he couldn't sleep Thursday night, anxious about the draft. But his father gave him some advice, having been through it. Adam was picked in the second round (22nd overall) in the 1989 draft by Quebec.

"He just said, 'Enjoy the moment, have fun, and soak it all in,' " Cal said.

And the two big Footes did, together.

 
Comments
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the dynamic Lightning defenseman. They both were top 10 picks in 2016, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Published: 12/13/17
Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his point streak...
Published: 12/13/17
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Published: 12/12/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blues

Andrei Vasilevskiy might have made the save of the year. With the Lightning leading by one midway through the second, an Alex Steen dump-in took a wild carom off the boards. Vasilevskiiy somehow sprawled out for a right-toe save. Then, on his back, V...
Published: 12/12/17
Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

The Lightning's west coast trip will start with a bang tonight in St. Louis.Tonight's game will pit the top two teams in the NHL, with Tampa Bay (21-6-2) atop the Eastern Conference, the Blues (21-8-2) the No. 1 team in the West.Fittingly, an NBCSN-a...
Published: 12/12/17