For this series, I’ve taken a list of every Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick, excluding the expansion draft, and put it into a random name picker. Excluded are any Steve Yzerman-era picks, so the players eligible are BY (Before Yzerman).
Now that the names are in the list, let’s spin the wheel and pick our random Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick.
And the selected player is...
Jonathan Boutin was taken by the Lightning for the 96th pick in the third round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Having completed his first full season in the QMJHL with the Halifax Mooseheads, the Lightning staff took a chance on him. He had a 2.90 GAA and .889 SV% for Halifax. He was also featured in the 2002-03 CHL Top Prospects game. While those numbers don’t pop out at you, the QMJHL has long been known as an offensive league. His .889 SV% was tied for 16th in the QMJHL among goaltenders with at least 30 games played. His GAA was 9th in that same group.
Boutin split the following season between Halifax and the Prince Edward Island Rocket. His performance improved following the trade as he posted a .910 SV%. He also had a .933 SV% over 11 games in the playoffs for the Rocket. In 2004-05, he slid back a bit and posted an .898 SV% and a 3.24 GAA in 32 games for Price Edward Island before being traded to the Quebec Remparts. His numbers didn’t really improve, but he got another ten games of experience in the playoffs for Quebec.
With his juniors career completed, the Lightning signed Boutin to a three-year rookie contract in July of 2005. Boutin split his first two seasons between the Springfield Falcons in the AHL and the Johnstown Chiefs in the ECHL. His numbers were a good bit better in the ECHL, but he had a hard time making an impact in the AHL.
In 2007-08, Boutin spent almost the entirety of the season with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL, playing in 38 games for the Admirals. He got an NHL call-up and was a back-up for one game, but did not enter the game. Following the season, his contract was over and the Lightning did not extend him a new contract.
The Buffalo Sabres invited Boutin to training camp, but did not sign him. He signed with the Victoria Salmon Kings in the ECHL and put up a .921 SV% in 16 games. He was also brought up to the AHL to play one game for the Manitoba Moose. Boutin moved over to the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL to finish out the season with a .906 SV% in 21 games. He also played 16 games in the playoff and won the ECHL Championship with South Carolina.
Without a contract for 2009-10, Boutin played some games in the LNAH, a low-level professional league in Quebec. He got an opportunity in Germany’s second tier with Lausitzer Fuchse. There, he played 27 games and another six in the playoffs. He also won the Goalie of the Year award.
In 2010-11, Boutin moved to Norway to play with Lillehammer where he had a solid season. Following his stint in Norway, Boutin returned to Germany and has remained there every since. He won two more Goalie of the Year awards in the German second league in 2011-12 and 2012-13 with Lausitzer Fuches. He reamined there through the 2014-15 season before moving to EHC Freiburg in the same league.
Boutin received an opportunity to move up and play with Augsburger Panther in Germany’s top league and acquitted himself well with a .913 SV% over 37 games. He continues to play for the Panther this season and has a .901 SV% through 18 games so far. At 32 years old, Boutin has a few more years of hockey to play and has certainly carved out a niche for himself in Germany, even though his NHL dreams never came true.