After unexpectedly deciding to trade down and out of the 28 slot on Day 1, the Tampa Bay Lightning now hold 10 selections in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to use today in Rounds 2-7. Those picks are as follows:
Round 2 (#33, from Edmonton Oilers via New York Islanders)
Round 2 (#44, from Boston Bruins)
Round 3 (#64, from Edmonton Oilers via Anaheim Ducks)
Round 3 (#78, from Florida Panthers via New York Islanders)
Round 4 (#118, from Anaheim Ducks)
Round 4 (#120)
Round 5 (#150)
Round 6 (#153, from Arizona Coyotes)
Round 6 (#180)
Round 7 (#208, from Anaheim Ducks)
So, of the 10 picks, just three are original Tampa Bay Lightning picks.
Still, with the Boston Bruins going way off board in their three-pick spree in the middle of Round 1, there are a lot of good players still available to be drafted today. That is likely why Steve Yzerman opted to trade down 5 picks, letting the New York Islanders come up and grab Mathew Barzal, while understanding that picking up an extra 3rd could pay huge dividends for the team down the line by giving them another chance to swing for the fences in a deep draft.
So who's on the radar?
First, the obvious targets; first round talents that should be considered with the 33rd overall pick (assuming Yzerman doesn't move down once again, which certainly shouldn't be ruled out):
We profiled him in our draft targets series. Vision, playmaking, skating. If he pans out, he's diet Erik Karlsson. This is a home run swing, the type of defenseman who can make a real impact in the offensive third. There are the requisite questions about his defensive acumen and decisionmaking but he makes good exit passes and can carry the puck out of the zone too.
Not expected to drop out of the first round, Roy would be, like Kylington, a high-upside defense pick at 33rd overall. 0.90 PPG this year in the QMJHL has him statistically comparable to guys like Mike Green and Cam Fowler. If Tampa Bay wants a puck mover on the back end and Kylington is gone, Roy is a great pick, too.
Probably the highest upside forward still on the board after Anthony Beauvillier and Nick Merkley were both selected at the tail end of Round 1, Sprong scored 88 points in 68 games with the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL. If speed and skill are still traits valued most at the top of a draft, Sprong is likely the best player available at 33, assuming he's there.
A few guys on the cusp of the 1st:
Another guy we profiled. Pavel Zacha's (who went 6th overall to the New Jersey Devils) wingman with the Sarnia Sting, Korostelev is a fine offensive prospect on his own. Outstanding even strength production suggests there might be more here than meets the eye, too.
This would be more of a safe pick; Harkins' all-around game is a bit more polished than the other prospects on this list. Still, there's plenty of skill here, and he plays center to boot. Nothing wrong with going safe early in Round 2 and swinging for the fences later on in the draft with so many extra picks. We profiled Harkins here.
Some big flyers:
Very quick winger who can make plays at top speed. After going point-per-game in the top junior league in Sweden in 2013-14, he scored 90 points (on 71 assists!) in the QMJHL this year playing on Adam Erne's wing. He's not the biggest guy in the world but the skill is hard to ignore.
A few folks rated Bracco as a 1st round talent; most did not because he is 5'9. Winging it in Motown has a nice profileon him, but again, the skill is 1st round caliber and it's really only his size that's holding him back. Almost certainly on Yzerman's radar.
Also worth keeping an eye on: MacKenzie Blackwood, Sebastian Aho, Filip Chlapik, Nicolas Meloche, just about everyone else because Yzerman.