Day two of the 2012 NHL Draft had a pacing that put day one to shame. Within the first 25 minutes of the process, the Bolts selected twice, and within three hours of the beginning of the affair, the draft was over. Thanks for stopping by, drive safely.
The second round of the draft saw the Lightning further stocking their coffers on the blue-line and adding their first forward of the draft. At the #40 selection, Tampa Bay picked Brampton Battalion defenseman Dylan Blujus. Blujus, 6' 3", is a right-handed, puck moving defenseman and has been an assist machine for the Battalion. You can find a more thorough scouting assessment of Blujus at The Prospect Blog.
With the 53rd pick of the draft, which the Florida Panthers conceded to the Bolts (by way of Philadelphia - this was a residual move from the Pavel Kubina trade), Tampa Bay selected left wing Brian Hart from Phillips-Exeter High School. Hart, 6' 2" and 215 pounds, has a commitment to play for the Harvard Crimson. That's not bad news for a young player looking to develop his game.
News came out sometime during the 3rd round of the draft that the Bolts had moved assets for another veteran of the Guy Boucher system. Minor league forward Michel Oullet was traded, along with the Lightning's 5th round choice, to the Boston Bruins for Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot, a former 1st round draft pick with the Minnesota Wild, played briefly for Guy Boucher's Hamilton Bulldogs during the 2009-10 season. This past season in Boston, he put up 32 points (X goals and X assists). He is an arbitration eligible Restricted Free Agent.
But that move focuses on the current roster. The NHL Draft focuses on the long-term building of the organization. In the 3rd round, the Lightning took Guelph Storm forward Tanner Richard with the 71st oveall pick. Richard, a 6' left wing, played in the Swiss-A league in 2010-11 before returning to North America for 2011-12.
Forward Cedric Paquette went 101st overall to the Bolts - surprising just about everyone (especially Chad Schnarr of Bolt Prospects, who had profiles on 215 players but not Parquette). The Sixth round saw TB returning to defense and selecting Jake Dotchin at 161st overall. Dotchin's another big (6' 3") right-handed defenseman who is not afraid to throw around his weight.
The final pick of an unpredictable draft class was Russian forward Nikita Gusev 202nd overall. Gusev, who plays in the KHL, is one of those risky players that may or may not come over - but he is a talent worth exploring. In fact, Gusev is thought highly enough that he was taken in the 2nd roun of the SB Nation mock draft (conducted the past week or so ) by Japers' Rink managing editor Jon Press.
The needs and wants of defense and goaltending were addressed in this draft, that can't be denied. But, overall, we won't know how great this draft class is until a few years down the line. Will Gusev come over? Will Slater Koekkoek rebound from his injuries and show his worth? Will Andrei Vasilevski be the first drafted goalie by the Lightning to actually develop into a #1 netminder?
Today was just another bit of promise for tomorrowseason. It's in the eye of the beholder how much promise was brought in with the 2012 draft class. Look for news shortly on these prospects and more being invited to teh Lightning developmental camp, running between July 2nd and 8th at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.