2017 NHL Draft: Live update of Tampa Bay Lightning draft picks

Right here, right now. All of the Lightning’s 2017 draft picks.

Good morning Tampa Bay Lightning fans! The second round is ready to start and we’ll be here with coverage all the way up to the end of the seventh round today. Check back throughout the day as we will be adding updates for every Lightning draft pick made throughout the day with an instant reaction and analysis.

Draft Picks

1st round, 14th overall - RHD Cal Foote, Kelowna Rockets, WHL

2nd round, 48th overall - RW Alexander Volkov, SKA-1964 St. Petersburg, MHL

3rd round, 76th overall - C Alexey Lipanov, Dynamo Balashikha, VHL

6th round, 169th overall - RHD Nicklaus Perbix, Elk River, USHS

6th round, 180th overall - C Cole Guttman, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL

7th round, 200th overall - C Sam Walker, Edina High, USHS

1:35 Update: Continuing with the theme of the late picks, the Lightning are adding yet another NCAA bound prospect. At 5’9” and 150 pounds, this is the kind of home run hit of an offensive forward we’ve come to expect from Steve Yzerman and Al Murray. In 25 games with Edina High, Walker put up 22 goals and 46 points and had another two goals and four assists in three playoff games. For Team Southwest, he added nine goals and 25 points in 20 games. Walker’s offense comes as a perimeter player with great vision.

Walker is committed to the University of Minnesota for the 2018-19 season. The Lincoln Stars own his USHL rights and he played four games with them this season without recording a point. Walker is a very raw prospect and will need a lot of polishing over the next four or five years. He lacked the size to play with enough physicality to dominate in the USHL with Lincoln at the end of the season like he did in high school hockey.

1:12 Update: Following up on the selection of Perbix, the Lightning have taken another NCAA bound player in Cole Guttman. Guttman will also be heading to St. Cloud State with Perbix. Guttman though looks to be spending another season in the USHL with Dubuque and then will head to St. Cloud State. In 53 games for Dubuque, Guttman put up 27 goals and 54 points in 53 games. He added another goal and three assists in six playoff games.

At 5’11” and 175 pounds, Guttman is on the small end for a forward. Guttman has good hockey IQ to go with his offensive skills. His speed is not great and his skating will need work to make it to the NHL. The USHL is a harder league to score in so putting up a point per game speaks to his offensive skills. Like most late round picks, there are certainly holes in his game beyond just his skating. With another year in the USHL and up to four years playing NCAA hockey, he can improve his overall game and put on a little weight before his transition to the professional ranks. At worst, he could end up as a good AHL player that provides depth to the organization.

1:06 Update: The Lightning take their first NCAA bound pick of the draft. In 2016, the Lightning took chances on two such players with Ross Colton in the 4th round and Ryan Lohin in the 7th round. Standing at 6’4” and weighing 194 pounds, Perbix is a big defenseman. He just turned 19 and is head to St. Cloud State in the fall. In 25 games with Elk River High as the Captain, Perbix put up 10 goals and 30 assists for 40 points in just 25 games. Playing for Team Northwest he had another three goals and ten assists for 13 points in 21 games. Perbix also had two goals and five assists in two playoff games for Elk River High.

Perbix was eligible for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, but was not taken after only putting up 22 points in 25 games. The big question mark was his skating and footwork, but he has come a long way in the past year. According to HockeyProspects.com, he was tasked with facing first round pick Casey Mittelstadt in a game against Eden Prairie High this year. He was impressive in his 1-on-1 situations against Mittelstadt. With scouts in the building to watch Mittelsadt, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this particular game got him noticed by the Lightning’s scouting staff.

He obviously still has questions in his game. He doesn’t project as a player that will carry the puck into the offensive zone, but he has the hockey smarts to develop the skills to break out of his zone with good passing. Braydon Coburn isn’t the worst comparison of what he could become, but certainly a lower ceiling. At best, he looks like he could become a third pair, stay-at-home defenseman. He’ll have four years to develop with St. Cloud State before making the decision to turn pro. St. Cloud State also has some very solid players on their roster and should be fairly good.

12:31pm Update: Since we have some time here, some thoughts on the selections of Volkov and Lipanov.

Volkov was an extremely off board pick. Almost none of the scouting services had him ranked. On top of that, he was an overage pick that had already been passed over in the draft. To take him in the 2nd feels like a big reach. Hopefully Volkov will prove us otherwise. If Yzerman can convince him to come to Syracuse, he’ll have a lot of competition to try and get top six minutes. Tye McGinn, Matheiu Joseph, Dennis Yan, and Mitchell Stephens are all more likely to get one of those four winger spots. Plus the possibility of Erik Condra going back to Syracuse as well. The likelihood of him having a huge impact on Syracuse seems slim.

Lipanov on the other hand was a very sound pick. He was ranked higher than where the Lightning ended up being able to snag him. He’s a two-way talent that will have plenty of opportunity to develop in the OHL the next couple years before turning pro. Lipanov will have a little bit of center competition from Jason Willms and and Zachary Magwood, but there’s a very good chance he’ll be their top center.

Barrie has been rebuilding but is expected to make the playoffs as a low seed in 2017-18. Their chances of competing for a top seed in the OHL in 2018-19 looks much better. Lipanov is one of the important pieces for Barrie in their growth over the next couple seasons.

It’s also been a while since Yzerman has gone after Russian players this high in the draft. Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov were picked in the 1st and 2nd rounds respectively in 2011 and then Andrei Vasilevskiy in the 1st round in 2012. Since then, the only Russians selected were Nikita Gusev in the 7th round in 2012 and Oleg Sosunov in the 6th round in 2016.

The Lightning have also tweeted that Lipanov’s preferred spelling of his first name is Alexey.

12:09pm Update: We’ve entered into the quiet period of the draft for the Lightning. Without a 4th or 5th round pick, there’s not much to do. Unless Yzerman is willing to trade a prospect for a future draft pick to get back into it. The other option would be to trade both 6th round picks for a late 5th round pick if there’s a player there that they really love.

11:18am Update: Yzerman and Murray have dipped into the Russian well once again taking Alexey Lipanov with the 76th overall pick in the 3rd round. He is a young prospect in this draft as he doesn’t turn 18 until August, 17th. Listed at 6’0” and 170 pounds he has good height and needs to add muscle to his frame.

In the VHL, Lipanov had three goals and five assists for eight points in 21 games. He added another three assists in six playoff game. He also spent some time in the MHL, but had limited success with only three assists in 11 games. He added three assists in seven games as the Captain of Team Canada in the U18 World Junior Championship. In the Hlinka Memorial tournament against fellow U18 players from the CHL, Lipanov put up five assists in five games. He added another four goals and four assists in four games in the World Junior A U19 Championship.

Lipanov has a high compete level and excellent on-ice vision. He’s a two-way player with the likely upside of a third center in the NHL. He is a strong skater with a good top gear. Despite his size, he has shown a willingness to play physical and battle hard in the corners to win pucks.

Lipanov is slated to move to the OHL in 2017-18 with the Barrie Colts. Barrie drafted him 44th overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft.

A lot of the rankings had him in the mid-30s to mid-40s. He was ranked 35th by HockeyProspects.com, 35th by ISS Hockey, 43rd by Future Considerations, and 49th by Bob McKenzie of TSN. The Lightning went off board by selecting Volkov in the second round, but it looks like they got really good value out of Lipanov in the third round at 76th overall.

10:49am Update: Digging a little bit more into Volkov. He is already 19 years old and turns 20 in August. He was passed over in the draft last season. His contract with SKA also expired after this season. The team could try to get him to come over this season to play in the AHL for the Syracuse Crunch. He’d be an interesting addition to all of the other young prospects that are slated to join the Crunch this fall.

10:40am Update: The Lightning go back to the Russian well for a right winger out of the Russian junior leagues. Alexander Volkov is a 6’1”, 192 pound left hander. He split the 2016-17 season between SKA St. Petersburg’s MHL, Russian Junior, and VHL, Russian minor league, teams. In the MHL, he put up six goals and five assists in for 11 points in 16 games with two goals and two assists in four playoff games. In the VHL, he contributed three goals in 15 games and another goal and two assists in eight playoff games. He also played six games for Team Russia in the Jr. Super Series against the three CHL leagues where he put up three assists. In 2015-16, all in the MHL, Volkov put up 16 goals and 27 points in 42 games.

Volkov was not a player on the radar of many of the ranking services. That’s not much of a surprise considering he was playing in the lower Russian leagues. The Lightning have not been afraid to go through those leagues with a fine toothed comb looking for talent. They picked up Nikita Kucherov from there in 2011 and also took Oleg Sosnunov in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

10:30am Update: Jaret Anderson-Dolan has also come off the board going to the Los Angeles Kings. Great story, great kid. Would have enjoyed having him in the system. Just a few picks to go until the Lighting are on the board.

10:11am Update: RHD Connor Timmins came off the board quickly with the Colorado Avalanche taking him with the first pick of the 2nd round, 32nd overall.

9:50am Update: To get things started, the Lightning took right handed defenseman Cal Foote last night with the 14th overall pick. Foote addressed a need for a top four potential right hander on the blue line. Foote already possesses NHL size as well as NHL bloodlines as the son of two time Stanley Cup winning defenseman Adam Foote. But he’s not just a bruiser. Foote has high end hockey IQ, an excellent breakout pass and smart physicality.

With that need addressed, I think the priorities for the next two picks turns towards a playmaking winger, a power forward, and a goaltender. The infamous Best Player Available will also be in play. Just because Steve Yzerman already took a right handed defenseman doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t pick another one if a good prospect stands out on the board at 48th overall.

As the second round gets started, there are a few names on the board that could still be there for the Lightning at the 48th overall pick that are of interest. LW Matthew Strome, RHD Connor Timmins, C Jaret-Anderson Dolan, and LW Nikita Popugayev are a few of those names available that stand out to me.