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Scouting the 2019 NHL Draft: Five Players for the Tampa Bay Lightning to consider

Because it never hurts to have too many choices

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To wrap up our prospect profiles for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, let’s take a look at some other options for the Tampa Bay Lightning. There’s a strong chance that the Lightning may trade down from 27th overall. They could also trade up, but that seems less likely (unless there’s a player they really, really want).

The following players are prospects who are right now, projected to be drafted in the late-first and early second round (though that does not mean they don’t have the potential to go much higher than that). The prospects below are not listed in any particular order, and all of them bring different skill-sets to the table that could be enticing to the Lightning.

Tobias Bjornfot - Djurgardens IF (SuperElit)

LD - 6’0” - 203lbs

Scouts have referred to Bjornfot as one of the safest picks in the draft, simply because of how impressive he looked playing professional hockey. Bjornfot is a reliable defenseman who is effective at both ends of the ice thanks to his awareness and intelligence. He’s not afraid to join the rush, but he doesn’t take unnecessary risks. The smooth-skating defenseman is difficult to beat in his own end and has excellent gap control.

He’s also a great leader, having captained Sweden at multiple international tournaments, and wears an ‘A’ for his club team (rare for an 18-year old). Bjornfot plays in all situations and on both special teams and is an elite skater who drives play. The only reason Bjornfot has dropped in the rankings this season is that his offensive production didn’t improve (he only matched his point totals). However, he has improved other areas of his game (namely defense) that has allowed him to grow into a more well-rounded and dependable defender.

Strengths: Skating, Positioning, Vision & IQ

Improvements: Strength, Offense

Albin Grewe - Djurgardens IF (SuperElit)

C/RW - 6’0 - 187lbs

Grewe doesn’t have the prettiest skating, but it gets the job done. He has excellent acceleration (in spite of his choppy stride), and has great agility and edgework. He’s a difficult player to knock off the puck and strong in puck battles. Despite his size, Grewe thrives as a physical player, pinning defenders against the boards and cycling the puck well. He’s a good passer, but also has a quick-releasing wrist shot. Although he has the vision to find teammates with passes, he doesn’t always process developing plays well, which can lead to turnovers.

The other issue is discipline. Although he’s a strong defensive player who blocks shots willingly and can suppress opposing cycles, Grewe is a bit too physical for his own good. Grewe (who is Bjornfot’s teammate) played 25 games with the J20 team and had 34 points and 102 penalty minutes. No, that’s not a typo. The physical, aggravating game that Grewe plays is great, he just needs to work on reining it in a bit.

Strengths: Physicality, Offense, Vision & IQ

Improvements: Discipline, Skating, Puck Control

Jamieson Rees - Sarnia (OHL)

C - 5’10” - 172lbs

First came the lacerated kidney, then came the eight game suspension, followed by an impressive showing for Team Canada at the World U-18s. It’s been an up-and-down season for Rees, who probably wouldn’t have had it any other way. Despite only dressing for 37 games this season, he was a lights-out player for the international team at multiple events over the last two seasons. The latest was a eight-point showing in seven games at the U-18s. The undersized forward is speedy, a relentless forechecker, and great playmaker.

From Mitch Brown’s Tracking CHL Project

Rees’ quick releasing shot is accurate, but not all that powerful. The stronger he gets, the better shooter he’ll become. The one knock against Rees (aside from his size) is his discipline. He’s known for getting into penalty trouble and he plays with an edge that can sometimes cross the line (see the eight game suspension). Still, he’s an involved backchecker and defensive player. Rees still has to work on developing more of an offensive presence, but his skating, work ethic, and ability to play in all situations will make him an effective NHLer that coaches love.

Strengths: Puck Control, Work Ethic, Tenacity

Improvements: Size, Offensive Presence, Discipline

Lassi Thomson - Kelowna (WHL)

RD - 6’0” - 190lbs

Thomson’s number one asset is his skating. The powerful skater also has great edges and agility, accelerates quickly, and can transition from offense to defense seamlessly. He can lead the rush or join it as a trailer, but Thomson has a deadly one-timer and a hard slap shot. He’s better suited to be a trigger-man on the half-wall instead of quarterbacking the powerplay, but he may get more experience quarterbacking the man-advantage next season.

From Mitch Brown’s Tracking CHL Project

Thomson is a solid enough defenseman when it comes to incoming rushes, as his skating and gap control allows him to push opposing players to the walls with ease. However, when the puck is in his own end for longer, he can struggle with his positioning and become too aggressive (leaving a player open to chase a puck). Leaving Finland to play in Kelowna has been and will continue to be great for his long-term development, as the Rockets have become known for churning out NHL-ready defensemen like a machine. The Lightning are no stranger to selecting Kelowna defensemen - after all, they drafted Cal Foote out of there back in 2016.

Strengths: Skating, Puck Handling, Shot

Improvements: Passing, Overplaying in DZ

Brayden Tracey - Moose Jaw (WHL)

LW - 6’0” - 176lbs

The WHL’s rookie of the year is a great possession player with excellent positioning and has the ability to adapt to a variety of roles. He’s a deceptive playmaker who can find his teammates with passes anywhere on the ice. Tracey also uses his shot to fool goalies with his ability to change the angle on his wristers, and has unloaded more than a few bombs from the high slot on the powerplay.

From Mitch Brown’s Tracking CHL Project

Tracey will be relied on more heavily next season for driving offense, as Moose Jaw will have lost its two key offensive producers to pro hockey (both of which were Tracey’s linemates). He’ll have to prove that he can continue to produce with new players, and that this past season wasn’t just a result of him relying on his old linemates for offense (which I wrote about more in-depth here). He’d be a great option for the Bolts if they decide to trade into the early second round. Tracey seems like the perfect fit for the Lightning - after all, they seem to do quite well drafting Braydens from Moose Jaw.

Strengths: Vision, Positioning, Adaptability

Improvements: Driving Offense, Size, Details