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Tampa Bay Lightning draft possibility has link to team

LOS ANGELES — It would be kind of poetic if the Lightning took D Brandon Gormley with the No. 6 pick in today's draft.

Gormley is from Murray River, Prince Edward Island, and is friends with former Tampa Bay star Brad Richards from neighboring Murray Harbour. Gormley said Richards' sister Paige babysat him and his sister.

"I know he's been kind of rooting for (the Lightning) to get me," Gormley said of Richards. "It's going to be interesting to see how it all works out."

"It'd be cool," Richards said. "It'd be another PEI connection" for the Lightning.

The stars could be aligning. It is believed Tampa Bay would prefer to draft a defenseman, and NHL Central Scouting ranks Gormley, 18, the No. 6 North American skater.

The 6-foot-2, 187-pounder has above-average mobility, and this past season for Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League he had nine goals, 43 points and 54 penalty minutes in 58 games. He said he patterns his game after Red Wings superstar Nick Lidstrom because Lidstrom plays in all situations.

"I'm a two-way defenseman, and in today's NHL you need to have a player who can play a lot of minutes," Gormley said. "And I've been a leader on all my teams growing up."

Could the Lightning be next?

"It'd be cool to be drafted by them," Gormley said. "They're right there where I'm ranked, so it's a good possibility."

CREDIT DUE: Gormley gave thumbs-up to Moncton teammate Mark Barberio, his road roommate and a 2008 Lightning draft pick who in May signed a rookie contract.

"He's a great guy and a better player," said Gormley, who played with Barberio for two seasons. "For me to jump in and play with him is something I'll never forget. He was a very highly touted defenseman in the league before I got there. Most guys would push away a 16-year-old. He took me under his wing and brought me along. I owe him a lot of credit to my success."

NO. 1: LW Taylor Hall, with 40 goals and 106 points in 57 games this past season for Windsor of the junior Ontario league, is the consensus No. 1 pick. He said he mitigates the pressure by taking time for himself and not taking himself too seriously.

About walking the red carpet with four other prospects at Thursday's opening of the new Twilight movie, Hall said, "Five gangly Canadian kids. They won't even know who we are."

Asked if he followed the Twilight series, he said, "I don't even know what Twilight is."

ODDS AND ENDS: GM Steve Yzerman said he could name assistant coaches in "the next couple of weeks." … Yzerman said he has spoken to the agent of potential unrestricted free agent G Antero Niittymaki. … RW Brett Connolly, one of the draft's most highly skilled players, said that playing only 16 games this past season with Prince George of the junior Western league because of flexor injuries to both hips hurt his development. He said the hips are "good as new." … Hall said none of the prospects hit a ball out of Angel Stadium during a batting practice visit. "I wish I played baseball growing up. It was so much fun." … RW Marty St. Louis was named a second-team All-Star.

Tampa Bay Lightning draft possibility has link to team 06/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 24, 2010 11:19pm]
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