The Lightning have finished off the 2022 NHL Entry Draft by using back-to-back seventh round picks with the third- and second-to-last picks of the draft. With their two picks, they selected defenseman Dyllan Gill and left-winger Klavs Veinbergs.
Gill is a right-handed defenseman listed at 6’2” and 181 pounds. He has spent the past two seasons playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL. In 2020-21, he recorded two assists in 39 games played. This season, he posted six goals and 21 points in 66 games. There isn’t much offense in his game, and not a whole lot of NHL upside here.
At best, he’s likely to be a depth defenseman mostly playing in the minor leagues during his professional career. He’s not bad in the defensive zone, but is still a raw prospect, especially on the offensive side of the puck. The Huskies were also not a good team, and that likely had an effect on his game as well. To reach the NHL, he’ll need to improve his two-way play and is a long shot to potentially become a 6/7 type defenseman.
Veinbergs is a 6’3”, 198 pound left winger from Latvia and is the first Latvian the Lightning have drafted since taking Kristers Gudlevskis in 2013 and the fourth Latvian drafted by the Lightning. He is an overage draft pick having been passed over in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and is now 19 years old. In his draft year of 2020-21, he played in the Latvia pro league for HS Riga with two goals and three points in 20 games. He also played for Latvia in the U18 World Junior Championship, recording no points and 25 PIMs in four games.
This past season, he recorded one goal and five points for Zemgale in the Latvian pro league and added another four goals and seven points in nine playoff games. The rest of the season he spent in the MHL with HK Riga where he recorded 16 goals and 24 points in 47 games played. He also played in three games for Team Latvia at the World Championships without recording a point, though he was barely used only playing a few minutes per game.
Veinbergs is kind of a typical late-round pick for the Lightning, where they typically go to the Eastern European well. They’ve picked themselves a player that is pretty much unknown to the public scouting services because outlets that are not Tampa lack the money and resources to scout a league like the Latvian pro league, or to effectively cover the MHL, the primarily Russian junior league.
One thing to note is that the Lincoln Stars drafted him 134th overall in the 9th round of this year’s USHL Entry Draft. That could be a sign that he is interested in coming to the United States and maybe going towards NCAA hockey after playing a year of USHL hockey. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with Veinbergs in the future and hopefully find out a little bit more about what kind of player he is.