We will have a lot more to say about Isaac Howard, the newest member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, later today, but on first impression, it’s possible the Bolts picked up a future playmaker at the end of the first round. On a day that saw presumptive number one overall, Shane Wright, fall to the fourth pick, and a bevy of trades, the Lightning simply went with the best player available in drafting Howard. He is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season, and has the type of skill that projects as a top-six winger who can fill the net with pucks. That’s a type of prospect we haven’t seen in these parts in quite some time.
The Wisconsin native was resplendent in his white suit/turtleneck combination (accented by a large belt buckle in the shape of the United States flag. When asked about it, the kid known as “Ice Man” responded with, “I think I’m the best looking guy here so, you know, I decided to be the best dressed too.”
Arrogant? Cocky? Or just a kid having some fun on the greatest night of his life? You decide. At least he has some personality. Based on his play with the US National Team Development he has the skills to match his flashy wardrobe. He put up 82 points with 33 goals in 60 games last season including six goals and 11 points in six games at the under-18 world championships. He’s also been invited to the Team USA training camp that will determine the roster for the upcoming World Junior Championship.
It will likely be at least a couple of years before he makes it to Tampa as part of the Lightning, but his future looks bright.
Lightning / NHL News
Julien BriseBois finishes second in GM of the Year voting [Tampa Bay Times]
It’s a little comical at this point that neither BriseBois or Jon Cooper have won their respective awards during this current run. I guess they just have to keep racking up the wins and banners and eventually they will be recognized.
Kings hire Manon Rheaume as hockey operations and prospect advisor [Tampa Bay Times]
Congratulations to the former Lightning goaltender and Olympic silver medalist. She will be based out of Michigan, but working with the young players throughout their development process.
Chicago trades two young players for a bevy of picks [Second City Hockey]
The busiest team in Montreal was by far the Chicago Blackhawks. They traded away Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach, picked three players in the first round, and acquired goaltender Petr Mrazek from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The rebuild is fully on in the Windy City and we’ll have to wait and see if long-time stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are still around when the puck drops in the fall.
Colorado acquires Alexander Georgiev from New York [Mile High Hockey]
Wild re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury [Hockey Wilderness]
Another goaltender is off the board as Fleury signed a two-year deal to stay in Minnesota with a rather reasonable $3.5 million AAV.
Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign Kris Letang [Pensburgh]
Fleury’s former Steel City teammate, Kris Letang, is staying in Pittsburgh for at least six more seasons as the pending unrestricted free agent agreed to a six-year $36.6 million contract. Not a bad pay day for the 35-year-old.