General Manager Steve Yzerman has led three entry drafts for the Tampa Bay Lightning and twice raised eyebrows when he chose an injury-risk player with a top-10 pick. The first was Brett Connolly (hips) in 2010, which has worked out okay so far. In June of this year, Yzerman selected promising defenseman Slater Koekkoek of the Peterborough Petes with the 10th overall pick despite the fact Koekkoek missed all but two months of the season with a severe shoulder injury. Koekkoek, who had his shoulder surgically repaired, passed all medical examinations before the draft.
The Petes' kicked off their preseason last night and Koekkoek – named captain earlier in the week – played his first competitive game since he was hurt on November 27, 2011. Koekkoek took a hit from Blue Jackets prospect Boone Jenner of Oshawa and later left the game. According to the Peterborough Examiner, Koekkoek was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. His coach, Mike Pelino, classified the injury as an “upper body injury,” which opens speculation that it could be the same shoulder.
When and how do you judge a trade or draft pick?
Earlier this week I tweeted from Bolt Prospects that it was the 10-year anniversary of then Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster sending the fourth overall pick to Philadelphia for a young forward Tampa Bay thought had some upside and two second round picks. At the time, jaws hit the floor from Nanaimo to Naples. I was standing on the line that divided my living room from my dining room and saw the trade go across the ticker on what I believe was ESPN-2. Yes, I remember exactly where I was standing when I saw the news.