Draft Tracker

[b]Here are the first 15 picks of the first round:[/b] 1. St. Louis: D Erik Johnson, USNTDP (US) 2. Pittsburgh: C Jordan Staal, Peterborough (OHL) 3. Chicago: C Jonathan Toews, North Dakota (WCHA) 4. Washington: C Nicklas Backstrom, Brynas (SWE) 5. Boston: C Phil Kessel, Minnesota (WCHA) 6. Columbus: C Derrick Brassard, Drummondville (QMJHL) 7. New York (I): RW Kyle Okposo, Des Moines (USHL) 8. Phoenix: C Peter Mueller, Everett (WHL) 9. Minnesota: C James Sheppard, Cape Breton (QMJHL) 10. Florida: C/W Michael Frolik, Kladno (CZE) 11. Los Angeles: G Jonathan Bernier, Lewiston (QMJHL) 12. Atlanta: C Bryan Little, Barrie (OHL) 13. Toronto: C/W Jiri Tlusty, Kladno (CZE) 14. Vancouver: RW Michael Grabner, Spokane (WHL) [b]15. Tampa Bay: G Riku Helenius, Ilves Jr (FIN Jr)[/b]

Jones/Times Mention Three Potential Picks

Work on a deal for a starting goaltender continues [url=http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/24/Lightning/Goalie_still_tops_Lig.shtml]according to this morning's article by Tom Jones in the St. Pete Times[/url], but don't expect the Lightning to go for a goaltender or a defenseman with their top draft choice. Instead, Jones mentions Cape Breton's James Sheppard, Vasteras' Patrik Berglund and Barrie's Bryan Little, all forwards, as potential choices for the Lightning. Interesting note: the Lightning's draft list is apparently only 80 players deep this year because the club is only looking for players which meet their high character standards.

Sports Forecaster Mock Draft

I've decided to link this one since it is one of the very few mock drafts that has a solid rationale behind it rather than knee jerking for a goaltender. [url=http://www.forecaster.ca/tbo/hockey/extras.cgi?2006-nhl-draft-mock]Canada's Sports Forecaster service has the Lightning selecting Cape Breton power forward James Sheppard[/url] with the #15 pick. Red Line has compared the left winger to a young Kirk Muller.

Lightning to Acquire Denis and Move Up??

The Columbus Dispatch [url=http://www.dispatch.com/bluejackets/bluejackets.php?story=dispatch/2006/06/23/20060623-F6-04.html]is reporting two rumors surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus goaltender Marc Denis.[/url] The first scenario, which appears bogus, has the Lightning moving Ruslan Fedotenko, John Grahame and a 2nd round pick for Denis. Grahame, of course, is an unrestricted free agent and the Lightning don't have a 2nd round pick in this draft making the deal impossible. The second rumor involves the Lightning moving the #15 pick and Fredrik Modin to Columbus for Denis and the #6 pick where, presumably, the Lightning would have many quality centers like Derick Brassard to choose from.

My Mock Draft

It's been a long while since I did one of these:

Trib: Lightning Leaning Towards Center Help

Erik Erlendsson [url=http://www.tbo.com/sports/lightning/MGB90574POE.html]previews the Lightning's draft philosophy a bit in tomorrow's Trib.[/url] In many ways echoing Bolt Prospects' own analysis of the Lightning system, Feaster confirms the team feels safe switching their concerns from any specific positional need to taking the best player available. Goaltender, apparently, is not a priority for the team as Feaster cites [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url], [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url], [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] and [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] are already in the fold. Instead, Erlendsson hints the team is styill looking for skill up front, particularly at the center position. Bolt Prospects lists scoring line center and offensive defenseman as the Lightning's two primary needs in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Most intriguingly in the article, Feaster puts a trade [i]up[/i] on the table as well as a trade down to pick up additional draft choices. A move up would allow the Lightning to dip into the very deep pool of centers available in the first 10-12 picks of this draft. A move down would allow the Lightning to take an offensive defenseman prospect without potentially reaching at 15.

TSN's Tip: Tampa Will Go Off The Board For Goalie

TSN released its mock draft today, and again, Tampa is falsely accused of having a shallow pool of goaltenders to develop. TSN not only has Tampa taking a goalie at 15, but going off the board to take the Everett Silvertip's Leland Irving ahead of Jonathan Bernier and Riku Helenius as the draft's first goalie. Irving, who is not an ideal Jeff Reese goaltender in size at 6-0, had a terrific playoff run for the 'Tips and has good numbers (1.91 GAA, .925 sv%), but was rated the No.3 North American goalie by ISS and the No.37 prospect overall by The Hockey News. TSN cites Irving's rising stock as a reason he'll make the jump up to 15.

Fox Sports Mocks the Draft

Fox Sports [url=http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/story/5712486]has posted their mock draft[/url] for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft that will be held in Vancouver on Saturday. With the 15th pick they have the Lightning selecting Minnesota high school star Mike Forney. The pick is actually better than their rationale, but count me among those who would be highly disappointed if Bryan Little fell to 15 and the Lightning actually passed on him.

Lightning Looking to Deal #1 Pick

SPTimes.com [url=http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/17/Lightning/Habit_of_draft_shakeu.shtml]finally managed to fix the link to Saturday's article by Tom Jones regarding Saturday's NHL Draft in Vancouver.[/url] Jones points to the good chance the Lightning could deal their pick and a forward like Fredrik Modin or Ruslan Fedotenko to try to acquire a goaltender the caliber of the Ducks' J.S. Giguere or the Sharks' Evgeny Nabokov. In the article Jay Feaster also echoes the position of Bolt Prospects that the Lightning have built up significant positional depth and are now in a position to focus on taking the best player available. In particular, the organization points to its depth in terms of prospects on defense and between the pipes.

Congratulations Carolina

You have no idea how hard it is for me to compliment a division rival but the Hurricanes, but they are due a lot of respect for what they've accomplished in winning the Stanley Cup tonight. In many ways their season and their run to the Cup was very similar to the Lightning's two years ago. So, congratulations Carolina and in particular Cory Stillman, whom I respect as a hockey player more than 99% of the players in this league. And condolences to Edmonton, who for the past ten or so years has been a gritty heart and soul franchise that has been nothing but a credit to this league. All that said, next season the Lightning need to take their trophy back.
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