BUFFALO, N.Y. — Just two years ago, the Lightning was thrilled to select D Anthony DeAngelo 19th overall in the draft, believing the skilled puck-mover could be a top-four defenseman and power-play playmaker.
Tampa Bay showed faith despite predraft character concerns. DeAngelo, 20, had been suspended in juniors for using a slur, but director of amateur scouting Al Murray said they did more homework on him than any prospect in his career.
But DeAngelo's tenure with Tampa Bay was surprisingly short-lived, as he was traded to Arizona in Saturday's second day of the NHL draft for the 37th overall pick. GM Steve Yzerman maintained this wasn't an indictment of DeAngelo, instead the cost of moving up seven spots in the second round to land D Libor Hajek, whom Tampa Bay considered a first-round talent.
"Anthony is a very talented, and skilled young player," Yzerman said. "It's more about Libor Hajek than about Anthony DeAngelo."
DeAngelo struggled to adjust in his first pro season with AHL Syracuse, as he was minus-18 and a healthy scratch eight times, and it appeared he was looking forward to a fresh start in Arizona. DeAngelo's father, Lou, declined to say if they requested a trade.
"I wish things could have been different but I think this is better for all involved," Lou DeAngelo said. "We are thankful (to Tampa Bay) for the opportunity. … We were looking for an opportunity to play in the NHL sooner rather than later."
Former Syracuse coach Rob Zettler said after the season DeAngelo's issues were mostly his play in the defensive zone, not his attitude. Hajek, at 6-foot-2, 196-pound Czech, had three goals and 23 assists with WHL Saskatoon last season.
"Tony is one-dimensional right now," Murray said. "Hajek has offensive ability, not at Tony's level, but is much more well-rounded and bigger, and probably a safer bet to be able to adapt both offensively and defensively to the NHL."
Up front: Murray loved his three-pick haul in the second round, which also included forwards Boris Katchouk, a 6-1, 192 "relentless" wing from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), and Taylor Raddysh, who played with Connor McDavid in Erie (OHL). Raddysh compares his game to Lightning LW Alex Killorn. "He's a big, strong guy, skilled offensively," Raddysh said of Killorn. "And he shows up in big games."
Family ties: F Chris Paquette, a fifth-round pick, says he has watched almost every Lightning game played by his cousin Cedric, a center, and tries to play "the exact same game." Well, almost. "I'm not a fighter," he quipped. Murray expects Chris, who played for Niagara in the OHL, to grow into a top-six role on that team. "This Paquette is a little better skater, Ceddy's grittier," Murray said.
Big man: The team's sixth-round pick, 6-8, 230 Russian D Oleg Sosunov, appeared to be a project. But after getting a tip from a Finnish scout, and sending two others to Russia to see Sosunov, the Lightning was impressed. "Couldn't believe how good a skater and how good of a puck-handler he was for a guy who was 6-foot-8," Murray said. "He's a hockey player."
Draft breeze: The team didn't feel the need to add a goalie to its system but landed its top-rated one, Connor Ingram, from Kamloops (WHL) in the third round. … C Ross Colton, who had 35 goals in 55 games for USHL Cedar Rapids last season, was the fourth-round pick. … Murray called first-round pick C Brett Howden "maintenance free" and "offensively skilled and defensively responsible. His attention to detail is meticulous." …The two seventh-round picks were centers Otto Somppi (Halifax, QMJHL) and Ryan Lohin (Waterloo, USHL).
Nuts and bolts: Though the Stars are rumored to have interest in G Ben Bishop, GM Jim Nill said they are comfortable with their two goaltenders. … The annual development camp starts Tuesday in Brandon.