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Reviewing the 2010 Tampa Bay Lightning draft class

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Steve Yzerman took over the team in the spring of 2010. However, he didn't have time to get a new scouting staff in place in time for the 2010 draft and left it to the previous regime's scouting department. That unfortunately led to a fairly unproductive draft class.

Connolly and Gudas were the only members of the 2010 draft class to play for the Lightning.
Connolly and Gudas were the only members of the 2010 draft class to play for the Lightning.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been five years since the 2010 draft class was selected. That draft happened just a few months after Jeff Vinik purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning and weeks after he installed Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman as the General Manager of the team. Without much time to assemble a scouting staff of his own and properly evaluate the available players in the entry draft-class, Yzerman made due with the scouting staff and intelligence assembled by former GM Brian Lawton's people to influence selections by the club.

Since then, Yzerman has staffed the scouting department with his own staff and installing a different set of talent parameters which has led to draft successes since 2011.

Five years later, let’s take a look at how the 2010 draft class has faired

RW Brett Connolly - 1st Round, 6th Overall

Connolly was a talented winger out of the Western Hockey League. He would go back to the WHL after being drafted and then would debut for the Lightning at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. Unfortunately, his Junior team, the Prince George Cougars, was pretty bad and the situation was not good for sending him back as a 19 year old. Yzerman instead elected to keep him in the NHL even though he would spend time in the press box and playing bottom six minutes. He would contribute 4 goals and 11 assists in 68 games in his rookie season.

The next two seasons saw Connolly spending the majority of the season in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch only seeing action in 16 NHL games compared to 155 regular season and playoff games in the AHL. He finally found a full time position with the Bolts in 2014-15, playing in 50 games and contributing 12 goals and 3 assists before being traded to the Boston Bruins at the 2015 NHL trade deadline for two second-round picks. He broke his hand in his first practice with the Bruins and only saw action in five games for the Bruins at the end of the season notching 2 assists.

Connolly never blossomed into the top six scoring winger he had been projected as. He was successful in Juniors and was inconsistently successful in the AHL. He seemed to lack a commitment to the defensive side of the puck and didn’t put up enough offense to make up for it. Ultimately, his style of play did not fit into what Yzerman and head coach Jon Cooper wanted and the team parted ways with him.

D Brock Beukeboom - 3rd Round, 63rd Overall

One of the better names to ever come through the Lightning, Beukeboom, a defenseman in the OHL with the Sault Sainte Marie Greyhounds that, some size as well as family history in the NHL.  Unfortunately, Beukeboom suffered concussions and so far has not made it to the pro ranks.He had produced a career-high 26 point season in his draft year, but has never reached it again in his playing career. This includes a dismal 8 points in his concussion-abbreviated 44 game 2010-11 season.

He also did not last in the Lightning system very long as his rights were traded to the Blues in 2011 as a part of the deal that brought Eric Brewer to Tampa Bay. It’s also interesting to note that the 3rd round pick that was used to take Beukeboom was the other piece of the trade with the Los Angeles Kings that brought Teddy Purcell to the Lightning in exchange for Jeff Halpern.

Beukeboom is currently playing college hockey in Canada after aging out of the OHL.

D Radko Gudas - 3rd Round, 66th Overall

Gudas was an overage pick from the Czech Republic that was playing in the WHL after being passed over twice in the draft while playing in the Czech leagues. He immediately joined the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL where he would put up impressive penalty minutes. He broke 150 penalty minutes across the AHL and NHL in four consecutive seasons. The hard-hitting Gudas became a fan favorite in Norfolk, Syracuse and Tampa Bay with his hard nosed style of play and eccentric personality. He also had enough offensive ability to make him intriguing.

After looking like he’d be a third pair defenseman, Gudas was making strides with the Lightning and started to look like a top-4 right hand D. Albeit, he looked like a fringe top-4 guy, but he was stepping up and proving himself until a knee injury sidelined him during the 2014-15 season. With Gudas out and a need for another top-4 defenseman, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers along with a 1st and 3rd round pick in the 2015 NHL draft for Braydon Coburn. Gudas will certainly be missed in Tampa and Flyers fans should learn to love him.

D Adam Janosik - 3rd Round, 72nd Overall

The Slovakian Janosik was a smaller (5' 11" ) defenseman out of the QMJHL with some offensive upside to his game, putting up 9 goals and 26 assists for 35 points in 63 games in his draft season. He didn’t pique Lightning interest during his final two seasons with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL putting up 32 points in 60 games and 32 points in 51 games. After finishing his Junior eligibility, Janosik defected from the Lightning and returned to Europe to play in the Czech and Slovak leagues. He is currently signed to play next season in the Czech league for KLH Chomutov.

D Geoffrey Schemitsch - 4th Round, 96th Overall

The fourth defenseman selection in a row for the Lightning, Schemitsch was taken out of the OHL where he was playing with the Owen Sound Attack. Much like Beukeboom, Schemitsch's point production and games played fell off after his draft season (in 62 games played he had 4 goals and 36 assists in 2009-1, only 45 games played in 2010-11, 27 in 2011-12 and 22 in his final OHL season in 2012-13),  He did not show enough development in Juniors to receive a professional contract from the Lightning and is currently playing college hockey in Canada. Unlike Beukeboom though, the Lightning did not get any return from him.

C James Mullin - 4th Round, 118th Overall

Jimmy Mullin is entering his fifth year in NCAA hockey with the University of Miami (of Ohio). After suffering a knee injury and missing all of the 2014-15 season, he received a medical red shirt. He also took advantage of a rule that allows players to transfer without sitting out a year if they graduate to move from the University of Miami to Minnesota State. Minnesota State lost some key players and he will provide a veteran presence for the team this year and hopefully will be able to showcase the offensive ability he had previously shown in the USHL and early in his collegiate career.

Mullin put up big numbers in high school with Shattucks St Mary and then followed it up with a big season in the USHL after being drafted (23 goals, 37 assists in 52 games with the Fargo Force). He showed well in his freshman year with Miami, but over the next two years his offensive numbers declined as he was being asked to play a lower line checking role. The Lightning should be hoping that his fresh start with Minnesota State will re-ignite him and that he’ll show enough to earn a pro contract when he completes his NCAA career.

F Brendan O’Donnell - 6th Round, 156th Overall

Another NCAA player, O’Donnell has been with the University of North Dakota since 2011 after previously playing a few seasons of Junior hockey outside of the CHL. Playing in the Non-CHL Junior hockey leagues allowed him to maintain his amateur status and play in the NCAA. After putting up good numbers in Juniors, he struggled to translate his offensive game to college hockey. He marginally improved year over year gaining more ice time and being scratched less culminating in a senior season where he had 13 goals and 8 assists for 21 points in 40 games. In his last two seasons combined he was close to a half point per game player, which usually doesn’t translate to a lot of success in the pro game.

O’Donnell was invited to and participated in the Lightning’s development camp this summer. However, he still has not received a contract from the team and if he doesn’t sign will become an unrestricted free agent on August 15th. He hasn’t shown enough to guarantee he’ll get a entry-level contract from another team. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on an AHL deal somewhere and providing depth in the ECHL. That could be with the Crunch and Everblades or with another organization.

D Teigan Zahn - 7th Round, 186th Overall

Zahn was originally drafted in the 5th round in 2008 by the Blackhawks and then re-entered the draft in 2010 after not signing with Chicago. The Lightning took a chance on him in the 7th round and he went back to Saskatoon of the WHL for another season. After completing his Junior eligibility, he didn't receive a contract from the team and went to college in Canada for one year before turning pro. He has played 13 AHL games with Oklahoma City and Norfolk and 152 ECHL games between Stockton, Utah, and Colorado. He is currently signed for next season with Colorado and served as an Alternate Captain last year.

Conclusions

Looking back, this ended up being a very poor draft class. The Lightning have only gotten NHL production from Connolly and Gudas and both are now out of the system. Mullin will be the only player still under team control if O’Donnell reaches free agency in August. Only Connolly, Beukeboom, and Gudas were used to acquire other assets in trade. It’s hard to blame Yzerman for what went wrong with this draft. He did not have the time to assemble a staff or properly scout the talent pool for the qualities he wanted. However, when you look ahead to what has been acquired via the draft since 2011, results and the depth and talent acquired through draft is much easier to see.