In and Out

Erik Erlendsson blogs on who the Lightning will and won't qualify before July 1st according to Jay Feaster. Note: this isn't a complete list.

IN: Paul Ranger, Ryan Craig, Karl Stewart, Mike Egener, Mitch Fritz

OUT: Doug Janik, Brady Greco, John Toffey, Morgan Cey, Adam Henrich

Analysis on the flip.

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Analysis

Entering the draft the Lightning's prospects of filling their organizational needs at forward looked so bleak the local media was printing stories that were already ratcheting down expectations. The team had no first round pick. It might not have had a second round pick if the Panthers had exercised the option they gained in the Chris Gratton trade. 2007 looked like a throwaway draft. Yet for some strange reason I actually had a good feeling about this draft because there were parallels to the 2002 draft. You'll recall in 2002, Jay Feaster's first draft as the head of the Bolts, the team dealt off its #4 overall pick in the controversial Ruslan Fedotenko deal and then dealt off a second round pick for defenseman Brad Lukowich leaving the team with a lone second round pick as their only selection in the first three rounds. And, like this year's draft, 2002 was panned as a poor draft class with the exception of the first 4 or 5 picks.

2002 was the finest hour of the Lightning's scouts during the Jay Feaster era even despite stubbing their toe with Adam Henrich with their first selection. They succeeded by outworking the rest of the league that day. Most of the other scouting staffs in the NHL were so sour on that draft class they didn't even want to deal with the later rounds of the draft. Carolina practically gave away a bundle of picks to the Lightning because there were no more players they wanted left on their list. And so the much maligned Lightning scouting staff crafted a working man's masterpiece almost entirely from round six on: Paul Ranger, Fredrik Norrena and Ryan Craig are all NHL regulars. Darren Reid has seen time in the league each of the last two seasons. Vasily Koshechkin is considered perhaps the best goaltending prospect in all of Russia. The team thought outside the box. They took overagers (Craig). They turned over rocks to find players (Koshechkin). They gambled on players who might not have played much during the year but had the skills and upside to warrant taking a flyer (Ranger). They haven't had a draft that good since.

Something about the challenge of making something out of nothing makes this Lightning staff rise to the occassion, and while I can't guarantee that the 2007 draft will pan out as well as that 2002 draft, there's reason to be very optimistic. The philosophy was different for this draft, but the work ethic wasn't and when Ottawa practically gave away a bundle of three picks for a spare 4th round pick today the comparisons to 2002 became even stronger. I liked what I saw today.

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Complete

Lightning 2007 NHL Entry Draft Picks

First Round
NONE

Second Round
#47 Overall
C/RW Dana Tyrell, 5'10" 185 lbs, Prince George (WHL)

Third Round
#75 Overall
LW Luca Cunti, 6'0" 185 lbs, GCK (SUI NLB)

#77 Overall
C Alexander Killorn, 6'0" 161 lbs, Deerfield (USHS)

Fourth Round
#107 Overall
C Mitch Fadden, 6'0" 174 lbs, Lethbridge (WHL)

Fifth Round
#150 Overall*
C/RW Matt Marshall, 6'1" 175 lbs, Nobles (USHS)

Sixth Round
#167 Overall
LW/C Johan Harju, 6'3" 205 lbs, Lulea (SWE)

Seventh Round
#183 Overall*
G Torrie Jung, 6'1" 170 lbs, Kelowna (WHL)

#197 Overall
D Michael Ward, 6'2" 180 lbs, Lewiston (QMJHL)

#210 Overall*
LW Justin Courtnall, 6'3" 185 lbs, Burnaby (BCHL)

*=Lightning trade Dallas' 4th round pick (acquired in the Darryl Sydor trade) to Ottawa in exchange for picks #150, #183 and #210.

For Head Scout Jake Goertzen's comments on each pick, see the Tampa Tribune review.

7th Round, #210 Overall, Justin Courtnall

With their final selection of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in the 7th round, #210 overall, acquired from Ottawa, the Lightning select:

LW Justin Courtnall, 6'3" 185 lbs, Burnaby (BCHL)
53 GP, 5-9-14, 69 PIM

Justin is the son of former NHL player Geoff Courtnall and nephew of former NHLer Russ Courtnall. Was drafted by Kelowna in the 11th round of the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft but has elected to stay in high school and pursue the college route. He was loaned to Burnaby by Victoria last season where he put up modest numbers. Is considered to be a good skater with good hands, but his numbers don't reflect it. Will play for Victoria in the BCHL next season. No word on his college options at this time.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #181 (North American Skaters)

7th Round, #197 Overall, Michael Ward

With their 7th round pick, #197 overall, the Lightning select:

D Michael Ward, 6'2" 180 lbs, Lewiston (QMJHL)
58 GP, 0-7-7, 39 PIM

Ward is a mobile stay-at-home defenseman who was picked by Lewiston at the top of the second round in the 2006 QMJHL entry draft. Lewiston traded its second and third round pick to move up to take him at No.22 overall. Ward hasn't exhibited much offensive game to this point in his career, but neither had Paul Ranger at this age. Lewiston won the QMJHL championship this year, losing only one game in the QMJHL playoffs. The MAINEiacs went 1-3 at the Memorial Cup. Ward played in three Memorial Cup games, going scoreless.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #156 (North American Skaters)

7th Round, #183 Overall, Torrie Jung

With the #183 pick overall in the 7th round, acquired from Ottawa, the Lightning select:

G Torrie Jung, 6'1" 170 lbs, Kelowna (WHL)
33 GP, 8-15-7, 1 SO, 3.46 GAA, .896 sv%

Jung served as backup to Kristofer Westblom this year in Kelowna but will probably assume starting duties next year for the Rockets. He's an athletic goaltender who is reasonably well schooled and was considered one of the best Western Canadian goaltenders in his age group but did not play in Kelowna until midway through the season. As he gets playing time, he'll no doubt start to develop to his potential.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #24 (North American Goaltenders)

6th Round, #167 Overall, Johan Harju

With their 6th round pick, #167 overall, the Lightning select:

LW/C Johan Harju, 6'3" 205 lbs, Lulea (SWE)
55 GP, 12-10-22, 30 PIM

Harju is an overage prospect who spent last season in the Swedish Elitserien with Lulea playing on a team with former NHLers Mikael Renberg and Lubos Bartecko. He finished 8th on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 22 points in 55 games. Played primarily on the team's third line during the regular season. Had 2 goals in 4 playoff games and moved up to Lulea's top two lines to play center in the postseason. Can play center and wing. Could be signed and play in Norfolk next season.

5th Round, #150 Overall, Matt Marshall

There has been a trade. The Lightning have traded Dallas' 4th round pick in next years draft acquired in the Sydor trade to Ottawa for a bundle of three picks including #150 in the 5th round.

The Lightning select:

C/RW Matt Marshall, 6'1" 175 lbs, Nobles (USHS)
27 GP, 14-10-24, 8 PIM

Like Fadden, Marshall was passed over in last year's draft. He possesses good speed and plays more of a two-way game. Isn't afraid to take the body. Not a pure offensive talent and needs to grow into that part of his game. Played some point on the power play for Nobles. Excellent defensively. Tireless worker. Played center all year for Nobles but considers himself a natural winger. Committed to Vermont of the Hockey East but will play one more year at Nobles before heading to the NCAA, although his USHL rights are held by Waterloo who drafted him #78 overall in the USHL Entry Draft.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #63 (North American Skaters)

The Lightning have also acquired two additional 7th round picks in the trade: #183 and #210 overall.

4th Round, #107 Overall, Mitch Fadden

With their 4th round pick, #107 overall, the Lightning select:

C Mitch Fadden, 6'0" 174 lbs, Lethbridge (WHL)
71 GP, 36-48-84, 54 PIM

The Lightning go for an overage player by selecting talented center Mitch Fadden out of Lethbridge who was passed over in last year's draft after a disappointing season in which he was dumped by Seattle to Lethbridge in the WHL. At 16-17 Fadden was considered a top talent but his dispassionate play saw him fall so far out of favor that no team even touched him in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. 2006-2007, however, was a season of redemption for Fadden who was second on the Hurricanes in scoring with an impressive 36 goals and 84 points in 71 games, good for 7th in the WHL in scoring. Fadden has a good all around game and is considered a talented pure sniper. The question is whether or not his motivation issues will resurface. He could be one of the bigger steals of this draft as he was considered a lottery pick type talent before falling off the map last season. Skill doesn't evaporate though and the move to Lethbridge seems to have suited Fadden.

Rankings:
NHL CSS: #51 (North American Skaters)

3rd Round, #77 Overall, Alexander Killorn

With their 3rd round pick, #77 overall, the Lightning select:

C Alexander Killorn, 6'0" 161 lbs, Deerfield (USHS)
23 GP, 19-14-33, 56 PIM

The Lightning hope to strike gold in the US high school ranks for the second year in a row selecting Alexander Killorn out of the Deerfield Academy program. Killorn, the youngest player in the 2007 draft pool, combines great skating ability and playmaking ability with a surprising amount of grit for such a slight frame. Killorn has committed to play for Ted Donato for Harvard in the ECACHL in two years and currently plans to take the Kevin Quick route and stay in high school one more year before moving on to college. Killorn is a long term project who could have high end returns.

Rankings
NHL CSS: #55 (North American Skaters)
Redline Report: #62
ISS: #97
THN: NR

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