The Lightning threw a major curveball with their 30th pick and selected Slovakian defenseman [url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect.php?pid=4441]Vladimir Mihalik[/url] despite indications the team was looking for a forward.
Mihalik is considered a "Zdeno Chara" type defenseman standing at 6'7" 222 lbs. He is expected to play for Red Deer of the WHL next season where head coach and former Lightning player [url=http://www.reddeerrebels.com/display_story.php?story_id=738]Brent Sutter gives glowing reviews of the blueliner. [/url] McKeen's hockey [url=http://mckeenshockey.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=428608]gives mixed reviews to Mihalik's U-18 performance.[/url]
The selection now means the Lightning have four big stay-at-home blueliners with Mike Egener
, Matt Smaby
, Andy Rogers
and Mihalik all coming out of the last three drafts. This especially puzzling since highly touted winger Guillaume Latendresse had fallen to the Lightning's slot as well as talented but moody Ryan Stoa.
Barring a trade the Lightning won't select again until the first selection in the 4th round of the draft.