The 2016 NHL Entry Draft is over, and thanks to ESPN’s football draft coverage, everyone expects an immediate grade. Well, as stated last year, we don’t do that. At least not yet; check back in five years.
We’ll rate it this way: Going into the draft we laid out the following player types on a need/want/wish list. Need doesn’t mean Tampa Bay Lightning NHL need, because no one they were going to pick at 27 or beyond was going to help this year or next (or the next?) anyway. Need covers an organizational need as it pertains to variety and depth. We can also look at perceived value per round, but you can usually stop after the fourth round on that because anything after the fourth round is a flier anyway and the probability of that player filling a need in the future organizational picture is possible, but low.
So, looking at the Lightning's 2016 draft, let’s compare who was taken with our wish list.
Name: Ross Colton
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthdate: 11 SEP 96
Club: University of Vermont (HEAST)
Cedar Rapids (USHL), 55 GP, 35-31-66, 79 PIM; Playoffs: 5 GP, 1-0-1, 0 PIM
"A left wing/center who played in the USHL and is going to Vermont. Good size, 5-11 to 6-feet, 195/190 pounds, and a good skill level. Skates well and a good, solid, all-around 2-way player with offensive ability" ... Colton [and Lohin] are guys you get now so you aren't bidding for them in three years as NCAA free agents. -- Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray.
Name: Connor Ingram
Weight: 194 lbs.
Birthdate: 31 MAR 98
Club: Kamloops (WHL)
Kamloops (WHL), 61 GP, 2.61 GAA, 0.922 SV%; Playoffs: 7 GP, 2.12 GAA, 0.938 SV%
"He was one of the top-3 goalies on our list. We had him ranked very high. He's a player that our goalie coach Dave Alexander from Syracuse went to work with him a couple weeks ago at Hockey Canada's goalie camp, he's one of the goalies invited to Canada's World Junior Team - one of four goalkeepers. Had a tremendous season in Kamloops, gave them a chance to win every night and Dave was very complimentary coming out of the goalie camp about Ingram, and confirmed a lot of things that we've seen in him." -- Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray
Name: Taylor Raddysh
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 203 lbs.
Birthdate: 18 FEB 98
Club: Erie (OHL)
Erie (OHL), 67 GP, 24-49-73, 18 PIM; Playoffs: 12 GP, 4-6-10, 2 PIM
"A big-bodied winger, a good skater, a little better skater than Boris (Katchouk), a little better than Boris, not as much bang as Boris. Two different guys. Plays for a very good team in Erie -- had two real good lines. [Re: Playing with Strome and Debrincat] Taylor can think and play at the level of the top players in junior hockey and we have hopes for him going forward." -- Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray.
Name: Boris Katchouk
Position: Left Wing/Right Wing
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthdate: 18 JUN 98
Club: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), 63 GP, 24-27-51, 61 PIM; Playoffs: 12 GP, 6-4-10, 4 PIM
"Can play left or right side. High compete level with skill and hockey sense, so Boris is what you might call a power forward and plays a real hard, gritty game, but has the hockey sense and skill to complement skill players." - Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray
Name: Christopher Paquette
Weight: 174 lbs.
Birthdate: 27 MAR 98
Club: Niagra (OHL)
Niagra (OHL), 57 GP, 5-11-16, 18 PIM
"He was on a really strong team this year. Niagara probably gave London their best battle all year long and played them in the OHL finals. Niagara went to win the OHL this year so they loaded up, and if you looked at their lineup it was almost all drafted players – I think they had somewhere between 12-14 NHL-drafted players so [Christopher] got knocked down the roster and played on the fourth line for the most part. We think he’s got an upside like Anthony Cirelli. Anthony started on the fourth line with Oshawa and gradually worked his way up to the second line and then this year was their first line center. Well, next year most of those guys on Niagara are going to graduate and [Christopher] is going to go up the depth chart, so we’re expecting him to be on the first or second line next year and get the chance to show the offensive ability that he wasn’t able to show this year. He was a high pick in the OHL draft, plays a 2-way game, good size, good skater, good attention to detail at all ends of the ice and we think he’s got offensive upside that he hasn’t been able to show yet." -- Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray
Name: Libor Hajek
Weight: 196 lbs.
Birthdate: 04 FEB 98
Club: Saskatoon (WHL)
Saskatoon (WHL), 69 GP, 3-23-26, 76 PIM
"He’s a bigger body, a very solid two-way player ... Libor Hajek was a 'safer bet' to be able to adapt both offensively and defensively to NHL than DeAngelo ... You watch Libor Hajek play on a really weak Saskatoon team and he just plays as hard as he can every shift all night long and his coach, who has just left the team to take an assistant position in Buffalo, couldn't say enough good things about him through the course of the year. On a weak team, he showed up and competed hard against the best players in the league every night when he could have folded his tent." - Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray
Name: Oleg Sosunov
Weight: 243 lbs.
Birthdate: 13 APR 98
Club: Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl (MHL B)
Loko Yaroslavl (MHL), 3 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM
Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl (MHL B), 39 GP, 4-8-12, 66 PIM; Playoffs: 12 GP, 0-2-2, 10 PIM
"He’s a big fella out of Russia. Halfway through the season Kari Kettunen, our Finnish scout, he’s got some people that he knows in Russia and he got a phone call from one of the guys, saying ‘I have a guy here that I think somebody should come in and take a look at that I think is a little under the radar.’ So, Kari made a special trip Russia – secret agent 007 Kettunen -- went into Russia – Yaroslavl – took a look at him and came out and was very complimentary. Came back and we sent Anton Routa – another scout – in a separate trip to go take a look, and Anton confirmed Kari’s excitement that this is a big guy who skates really well and has some skill and is very raw. Both his parents were, I believe, Olympic athletes, and so he’s got a natural athletic background and he’s very coordinated for a big man. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to come to Development Camp; he’s in training camp with the Yaroslavl men’s team trying to get a spot within their organization, and with the short notice to try to get a Russian visa would have been difficult as well, so unfortunately people won’t see Oleg, but he’s a big man and we’ll see what happens going forward there." -- Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray
Name: Otto Somppi
Weight: 183 lbs.
Birthdate: 12 JAN 98
Club: Halifax (QMJHL)
Halifax (QMJHL), 59 GP, 13-33-46, 25 PIM
"Otto Somppi came in from Finland and played on the Finnish Ivan Hlinka team and at the end of the year played with the Finnish U-18 team that won the championship. Otto’s played most of the season with a banged-up shoulder, so he had a shoulder brace on and he played on a very weak Halifax team. Once they traded Timo Meier they really had nobody to play with him so Otto persevered, worked hard through the season, battled through the shoulder situation, then went with Finland and played on the first line with [Jesse] Puljujarvi and [Janne] Kuokkanen. He played part of it at center and part of it at wing and was on the first line on the championship team with Finland. We have high hopes for Otto and part of the reason he didn’t get selected was the shoulder situation and the team that he was on, so that helps us – good news for us and it’ll make him a better person and player going forward." -- Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray
Name: Ryan Lohin
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthdate: 26 JUN 96
Club: UMass-Lowell (HEAST)
Madison (USHL), 48 GP, 16-23-39, 50 PIM
Waterloo (USHL), 14 GP, 7-11-18, 4 PIM; Playoffs: 9 GP, 1-4-5, 16 PIM
"Ryan Lohin is very similar to Ross Colton. He’s a 96-born, both are 96-born guys that have gone through the draft a couple of times. Both came on this year to have real strong seasons in the USHL. Both are going off to college, he’s going to Lowell, and are going to be – from what we understand – big parts of both their college teams. Again, a 2-way guy with offensive skill. Not real big, 6-foot tall, 190 pounds, good puck skills, some offensive ability if you look at his numbers in the USHL he was over a point a game and these are the kind of guys that if you don’t take these guys as 19-year-olds as they are late-bloomers, then you’re chasing them for the next three years as free agents in college hockey, so both guys impressed us enough that we wanted to draft them." -- Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray