2014 NHL Draft: Tampa Bay Lightning select C Brayden Point with 79th overall pick

Derek Leung

The Tampa Bay Lightning moved up a spot in the third round to nab the highest scorer left on the board: center Brayden Point of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.

Using the extra 7th round pick (in 2015) acquired from the Jason Garrison trade yesterday, the Tampa Bay Lightning moved up from 80th overall in the second round one spot to 79th.

A curious move to spend a pick to move just one spot, for sure, but Steve Yzerman and Al Murray did it to grab a 1st round scoring talent that fell to the 3rd round primarily because of his size.

The Tampa Bay Lightning selected center Brayden Point, of the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL. His career stats are impressive, particularly in his draft season:

91 points in 72 games is elite scoring ability, and doing so as an undersized (listed around 5'9, 160 pounds) center in the rough-and-tumble WHL should give Tampa Bay Lightning flashbacks of Tyler Johnson, who was also a high-scoring, undersized center in the Western Hockey League.

Point's offensive ability is well documented -- from In Lou We Trust, who selected Point with the 30th overall pick in the SBN Mock Draft:

Brayden Point may be 5'9" but has put up just over a point per game in 144 WHL regular season games mainly as a 16 and 17 year old. Results like that are too impressive to ignore due to concerns about his size.

Look around the various scouting reports and ranking aggregates and you'll find the consensus with Point is that he is a high skill, high work ethic centerman who skates well (but not great) and would have been an easy 1st round pick if he were just a few inches taller.

While it's easy to knock a player for his size, generally speaking, a player who has been overcoming that shortcoming his entire life is accustomed to playing bigger and smarter than guys that outweigh or tower over him. You don't score a point-per-game in 144 WHL games by luck, and at his size, you don't do it without a lot of skill and a lot of drive.

It's unclear where exactly Point will top out as a prospect -- he does need to fill out and get stronger before he turns professional -- but at 79th overall, getting a point-per-game CHLer is a steal.

Also of note -- the selection ends a three-plus year drought on selecting WHL players for the Tampa Bay Lightning scouting team. They added Tyler Johnson as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but haven't chosen a WHLer in the Entry Draft since 2010 with Brett Connolly and Radko Gudas.

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