After drafting Isaac Howard on Day 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning continued with another five selections yesterday, choosing the newest members of the organization. Overall the Lightning drafted four forwards, one defenseman and one goaltender during this year’s draft. Those players also represent five different countries: two players are from United States and one player from each of Canada, Sweden, Czech Republic and Latvia.
As the first selection of Day 2, the Lightning drafted Lucas Edmonds, an overage Swedish-Canadian winger from the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL as the 86th overall pick in the third round. Initially the Lightning didn’t have a third round pick, but traded up in exchange of the 103rd and 169th picks, which they sent to the Los Angeles Kings [Raw Charge]
Edmonds is a 5’11”, 185-pound winger. He’s a right-handed shot, but has played on both sides of the ice. He was born in Canada, but has dual citizenship in Sweden and played from 2016-2021 in Swedish junior leagues. His father, Randy, was also a professional hockey player as well as a head coach and general manager. Randy played five seasons in the lower levels of Swedish hockey before moving behind the bench. Despite being born in Canada, Edmonds has played internationally for Team Sweden in the past.
Seventy-four picks later the Lightning selected another overager, Czech goaltender Nick Malik and son of former NHL defender Marek Malik, who played for the Lightning in the final year of his NHL career [Raw Charge]
With Malik, the Lightning could try to get him over to the AHL and the Syracuse Crunch right away. He is under contract with KooKoo for the 2022-23 season, but because of the IIHF transfer agreements, the Lightning can pay a fee to get him out of the contract and bring him over right away. If the Lightning do, then Malik can serve immediately as the back-up, or 1B, to Hugo Alnefelt for the Crunch. Amir Miftakhov should have been in that spot this season, but he wanted to return to Russia and the Lightning mutually terminated his contract this offseason to allow him to do so.
Connor Kurth became Tampa Bay’s fourth selection in this draft. The 21-year-old forward most recently played in the USHL for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and expected to play for the the Golden Gophers in the NCAA next season [Raw Charge]
From the scouting report, it looks like Kurth has a pretty good shot and is a capable passer. His skating is a big issue though, with some bad mechanics and lack of speed. The scouting report does note though that he has made improvements from last season and so there’s at least some hope that he can continue to work on his shortcomings and improve while he plays for the University of Minnesota.
Dyllan Gill is the only defenseman the Lightning selected in the 2022 NHL Draft. He’s a 18-year-old right-handed defenseman, most recently playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL [Raw Charge]
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.
Klavs Veinbergs became the Lightning’s last selection of this draft. He’s a 19-year-old Latvian forward, who spent his previous season playing in the Russian junior league MHL [Raw Charge]
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.
A deeper look at Isaac Howard, a first-round draft pick by the Lightning [Raw Charge]
Howard is pure offense. He is a goalscorer that has a vast array of shots. His skating is excellent and he uses it not only to burst out out of the zone, but also to create odd angles to shoot from. The shifty forward is also able to change his shooting angles thanks to his above-average stickwork. It’s been quite awhile since the Lightning have had a player with his abilities come through their system.
Meanwhile Scott Wheeler of the Athletic ranked the Lightning as an “overtime winners“ of Day 2 and was pretty complimentary of Lucas Edmonds [The Athletic]
One of the only 2001-born players in the draft, Edmonds who turned 21 in January and is the son of NHL agent Randy Edmonds, is a heady, intelligent, spatially aware winger who can make plays with the puck on his stick but also understands how to impact the game in all three zones on and off of it. Following a 113-point OHL season, he’ll go right to the AHL next year in all likelihood. Can his smarts carry him past that, is the question.
The Athletic’s another prospect expert Corey Pronman gave the Lightning a C+ grade for the whole draft [The Athletic]
Isaac Howard is a very good player and projects as a top-nine winger. After him I respect the dice rolls Tampa made on Nick Malik, Lucas Edmonds and Connor Kurth, but they all seem like long shots to varying degrees, even though they’re all talented. If Howard scores as a pro you’ll be happy with his group, but it’s not a guarantee.
Another hockey site EP Rinkside gave the Lightning a B- grade for this draft [EP Rinkside]
Tampa Bay is a perfect landing spot for Isaac Howard. Howard can drive play with his skating and handling skills, but he’s at his best when others do it for him. You get the best out of Howard when he plays alongside playmakers who can find him inside space and allow him to use his release, his biggest asset. Howard can organize his body quickly to fire in traffic, but he often doesn’t need to as he has a knack for escaping defenders. Concerns over his puck management and lack of physical skills probably dropped him, but again, alongside the right teammates, the kinds Tampa can offer, those concerns might not matter.
Lightning / NHL News
As Pierre LeBrun reported yesterday evening, after discussion this week in Montreal, Ondrej Palat might be heading to free agency market.
Obviously things could still change but after discussions this week here in Montreal between both sides, appears pending UFA Ondrej Palat is headed to market.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 9, 2022
The Lightning’s beat writer Joe Smith shares some of his thoughts and news about the team’s offseason [The Athletic]
BriseBois said that Anthony Cirelli had shoulder surgery on Tuesday, as The Athletic reported he would. Cirelli had suffered an AC joint sprain on one side and a collarbone injury on the other. What the team doesn’t know, however, is how long Cirelli will be sidelined. “We’re still ironing that out,” BriseBois said. “There’s a wide range there.”
The Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Tony DeAngelo in exchange for several draft picks.
TRADE: We have acquired Tony DeAngelo and a 7th round pick (220th overall) in this year's draft from Carolina in exchange for our 4th round pick (101st overall) in 2022, 3rd round pick in 2023 (the lowest of the three picks) and a 2nd round pick in 2024. https://t.co/gCrZfPCx7L— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) July 8, 2022