Make us your home page
Instagram

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 draft haul has no defensemen

Slater Koekkoek was the 10th overall pick by the Lightning in the 2012 draft.

Getty Images

Slater Koekkoek was the 10th overall pick by the Lightning in the 2012 draft.

NEWARK, N.J. — Technically, the Lightning did not select a defenseman with any of its six draft picks Sunday, taking five forwards and a goaltender. But appearances can be deceiving, said Al Murray, Tampa Bay's director of amateur scouting.

With the signing in March of D Andrej Sustr out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, "We feel like he was a late first-round draft pick."

In fact, Murray and GM Steve Yzerman said the acute lack of depth that for so long has plagued the Lightning blue line has lifted with additions the past two years of Dylan Blujus, Jake Dotchin, Slater Koekkoek, Dmitri Korobov, Nikita Nesterov, Artem Sergeev and Luke Witkowski.

"We think we're very deep with defensemen," Murray said. "We have a lot of good prospects."

Not that Tampa Bay entered Sunday expecting to come up empty. It's just the way things worked out, Murray said:

"Three times we were looking at defensemen, and somewhere between five and 10 picks in front of us, these defensemen went. When those things happen, you go to the next player on your list you feel is the next-best player. We don't pick defensemen to balance out any positioning."

"We're not going to pass on player X because he's not a defenseman to go to the 10th player on our list because he's a (defenseman)," Yzerman said. "We'll figure out another way."

TOUGH STUFF: Adam Erne, the Lightning's second-round pick (33rd overall), said he likes to compare himself to Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell.

"Get in the dirty areas. Be physical," Erne said.

The Lightning wants to get bigger and more physical throughout the organization, and Erne, 6 feet 1, 210 pounds, fits the bill.

"I'm a power forward, real physical, be in the dirty areas," said Erne, who had 67 penalty minutes in 68 games last season for Quebec of the junior Quebec league. "I always like to hit, to take hits, to be hit. It gets me going and makes me successful."

There's skill there, too. Erne, 18, from New Haven, Conn., had 28 goals and 72 points.

"He drives on defensemen and takes the puck to the net," Murray said. "He's a big, thick body."

LACK OF ACTION: There were 10 trades, but only the Canucks sending G Cory Schneider to the Devils created much buzz. That's not quite the frenzy that was expected. "For us, the price to move up didn't make sense, and likewise behind us," Yzerman said. "So, at the end of the day, everybody just said, 'I'm happy sitting where I am.' "

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning will hire an assistant with NHL experience to work behind the bench with coach Jon Cooper and assistant Rick Bowness. Assistant Steve Thomas, likely an eye in the sky; video coach Nigel Kirwan; and goaltenders coach Frantz Jean are expected to be retained. … The team's prospect camp is Saturday through July 10 at Brandon. … Yzerman said Syracuse D Brendan Mikkelson will not get a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. W Ben Pouliot is not expected to be qualified, either.

Lightning draft haul has no defensemen 06/30/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 1, 2013 12:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

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

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    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)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …