Friday, July 20, 2018
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
Hereís our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

Hereís our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

The Lightning just celebrated its 25th anniversary season — long enough to have a Mount Rushmore.Here it is:Marty St. Louis (2000-14)St. Louis is the all-time franchise leader in points and the only Lightning player to make the Hall of Fame aft...
Published: 07/13/18
Lightning names AHLís Derek Lalonde as new assistant

Lightning names AHLís Derek Lalonde as new assistant

The Lightning has completed Jon Cooper's coaching staff for the upcoming season, announcing on Thursday the hiring of Derek Lalonde, who spent the last two seasons as head coach of the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild.Lalonde, 45, has steadily work...
Published: 07/12/18
Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

A busy few weeks of re-signing players continued Wednesday, as the Lightning brought back the last of their restricted free agents, signing left wing Adam Erne to a one-year, $800,000 contract for 2018-19.Erne, 23, was a second-round pick in 2013 and...
Published: 07/11/18
Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

CLEARWATER — Nikita Kucherov could have waited a year, allowing the demand for a top young NHL scorer to escalate as he hit restricted free agency next summer.But when the Lightning made him an offer to become the highest-paid player in the tea...
Published: 07/10/18
Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

The Lightning took another step toward securing its future Tuesday by announcing that right wing Nikita Kucherov will sign the richest contract in franchise history.Kucherov's eight-year contract extension will pay him an average of $9.5 million star...
Published: 07/10/18
Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

TAMPA — The Erik Karlsson sweepstakes hasn't ended for the Lightning.But the Nikita Kucherov sweepstakes is over before it began.The Lightning has locked up its star right winger. An eight-year extension that begins in the 2019-20 season will p...
Published: 07/10/18
Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

ST. PETERSBURG — When the call from the Hall came, there she was again.The girl with the "I (heart) U Marty" sign, in the newspaper again, this time on the cover of the June 27 Tampa Bay Times sports section. She was frozen in time, doing what ...
Published: 07/07/18
What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

TAMPA — Shortly after the excitement of the real possibility Thursday night that the Lightning could be trading for defenseman Erik Karlsson, fans quickly came to an uneasy place: What exactly would Tampa Bay give up to get the two-time Norris ...
Published: 07/06/18
The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

He wants to be here.This is the place.In case you'd missed it amid the gloom and doom of a Lightning season that came up short again, there are still people who want to play in Tampa Bay.One of them is Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson of Landsbro, Sweden. T...
Published: 07/06/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Rick Stroud returns from vacation to discuss reports that the Lightning will acquire star defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.He also talks about reaction to Jameis Winston's three-game suspension, the Rays' crazy home stand and which p...
Published: 07/06/18