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)

NHL draft picture fuzzy for Lightning

Colorado GM Joe Sakic says he might not take Seth Jones, the top-rated player in the draft, at No. 1 overall. So the defenseman could fall to the Lightning at No. 3.

Getty Images

Colorado GM Joe Sakic says he might not take Seth Jones, the top-rated player in the draft, at No. 1 overall. So the defenseman could fall to the Lightning at No. 3.

One might believe that as the NHL draft gets closer, the clarity as to whom the Lightning (or any other team, for that matter) will select would increase.

Instead, as teams prepare for the June 30 event in Newark, N.J., things are as nebulous as ever, especially because Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he might not take defenseman Seth Jones with the No. 1 overall pick.

If that really is the case, perhaps Jones, the consensus top player in the draft, falls to the Lightning at No. 3 and Tampa Bay, all of a sudden, has a chance to snag a player who might turn into the puck-moving, play-making defenseman it hasn't had since Dan Boyle was traded on July 4, 2008.

The thing about the draft, though, is you never know if reported information is for real.

Was Sakic sincere when he told the Denver Post he is considering taking forwards Jonathan Drouin, Nate MacKinnon or Aleksander Barkov over Jones, or is he trying to stir up trade interest for the No. 1 pick?

"Who knows what they're thinking?" Darryl Plandowski, the Lightning's head amateur scout, said. "I think it's smart of (Sakic) putting up a little controversy to get conversation going and people thinking. I saw one comment where someone said, 'That's a big smokescreen,' and that might be. But he's got the No. 1 pick. He can do what he wants."

Before Sakic's comments, most believed Jones, who grew up in Denver's suburbs, would go to the Avalanche and MacKinnon to the Panthers at No. 2.

If that holds, Tampa Bay likely will choose among Drouin, a left wing, Barkov, a center, and Valeri Nichushkin, a right wing.

Nichushkin's high-end skill is intriguing, but reports were he had a poor combine. The chatter now is the Lightning is more likely to go with Drouin, whose play-making ability eventually could complement C Steven Stamkos, or Barkov, whose value will rise if Tampa Bay has plans to buy out captain Vinny Lecavalier.

One thing is for sure.

"The Lightning, at three, is in a good spot," Plandowski said. "We're going to get a good player whatever happens."

VINNY SAGA: The two compliance buyouts given each team to help manage next season's $64.3 million salary cap — down from $70.2 million this season — do not have to be used this year. There will be a buyout period after the 2013-14 season as well.

That might be important in terms of a possible Lecavalier buyout as a year from now the Lightning will know whether the salary cap reverses its downward course for 2014-15 and where the team stands in its own retooling, critical information to factor into any decision.

INJURY REPORT: With the AHL playoffs complete — Lightning affiliate Syracuse lost the Calder Cup final in six games to Grand Rapids — the cone of silence around injuries was lifted.

D Brian Lee had surgery during the playoffs to repair a torn ACL and likely will not be ready for Tampa Bay's training camp, Syracuse GM Julien BriseBois said.

D Radko Gudas missed five of six games against Grand Rapids because of a strained medial collateral ligament. He is almost 100 percent, BriseBois said. No surgery was required.

STATUS QUO: The Lightning hoped to get goaltending prospect Jaroslav Janus out of the final year of his contract with HC Slovan of Europe's Kontinental Hockey League. But BriseBois said Janus, 23, 18-16-13 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .928 save percentage last season, likely will remain with the Slovakia-based team.

NHL draft picture fuzzy for Lightning 06/22/13 [Last modified: Saturday, June 22, 2013 7:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays vs. Blue Jays: Looking to make it 2 in a row


    Coming off Sunday's win over the Mariners - just their fourth in the last 16 games - the Rays are looking to make it two in a row tonight as they take on the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series.

    The teams played last week in Toronto, with the Blue Jays taking three of four.

    RHP Chris …

  2. Commissioner Manfred to visit Trop Wednesday for Rays-Blue Jays


    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.

    And so is Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

    And they are scheduled to meet with the media.

    But before you get excited - or riled up - know it's not to make any big announcement on the stadium or the overall future …

  3. Bucs running back's gamble pays off for his mom


    TAMPA — When Peyton Barber decided to leave Auburn after his sophomore year, with only one season as a starting running back, it was a risky decision, one he hoped would let him help out his family back home in suburban Atlanta.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (43) takes the field with an American flag before a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  4. Armwood vs. Tampa Bay Tech teeming with Division I-A talent


    Armwood High School strong safety Caleb Sutherland (18) breaks a tackle to score a pick-six during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  5. Bucs bring back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete


    Just 12 days before the NFL makes its final cuts, the Bucs have added another position battle, signing back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete with veteran Garrison Sanborn.

    Andrew DePaola is making an impressive recovery from the torn ACL he suffered in last year's season finale against Carolina in January.  [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]