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Lightning Round: Al Murray named senior advisor to general manager, John Rosso to become director of amateur scouting

Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter (@TBLightning)

A short time after the Tampa Bay Lightning wrapped up their selections in the 2023 NHL draft amid thunderstorms outside of Bridgestone Arena in Nashville news broke that the director of amateur scouting Al Murray would be stepping aside from that role. John Rosso, who had been with the scouting department since 2011, would be assuming that role and Murray would become a senior advisor to the general manager.

Murray joined the organization in August of 2010 and helped new general manager Steve Yzerman put together one of the best draft classes in franchise history. Their first draft class together in 2011 featured six selections that all reached the NHL. Cornerstone players like Nikita Kucherov (second round) and Ondrej Palat (seventh round) were part of that draft.

Palat would start a trend that became a hallmark of Murray’s tenure with the Lightning of finding players that would make the NHL despite being late-round picks. In the 13 drafts he conducted for the Bolts as head of amateur scouting he had 45 picks that came in the fifth round or later. So far 13 of those players have played at least one game in the NHL. That’s not a bad hit rate. Palat, Nikita Nesterov, Jake Dotchin, and Nikita Gusev are all late-round picks that have played more than 95 NHL games (it’s not Murray’s fault if some of those players were traded).

Throw in mid-round successes like Brayden Point (third round), Cedric Paquette (fourth round), Ross Colton (fourth round), and Mathieu Joseph (fourth round) and it’s helped the Lightning offset the judicious trading of first-round picks and build a support cast around their superstars.

Some of the success has faded in recent years with Nick Perbix as the only late-round pick to have sustained success with the Bolts. With the success that the Lightning have had recently many of those picks have come later in the rounds and, quite frankly, other teams have improved their late-round drafting.

It does sound like it was Murray’s decision to step aside and it could be that, at age 66 and with 35 years in the business, he’s decided to step away from the day-to-day grind. Consulting work is a pretty good gig and he should be able to set his own workload now, something that is pretty rare in professional sports.

Rosso is no stranger to the organization having joined the Lightning in 2011 as a regional amateur scout. In 2019 he moved over to the professional side of scouting, working with assistant general manager and director of player personal Jamie Pushor. Rosso, 45, was a defenseman at the University of Nebraska-Omaha from 1997-2001. Prior to working as a scout for the Lightning he was the director of scouting and player development for the Sioux Falls Stampede, an USHL team that featured future NHL players Chad Ruhwedel and Jamie Oleksiak.

This is the second big move for the Lightning staff this week as Joel Bouchard replaced Ben Groulx as the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch.

A big thank you to Murray for finding so many key players for the Lightning’s back-to-back Stanley Cups and good luck to Rosso in finding the next generation of Lightning superstars.

Lightning / NHL News

The Lightning made five selections on the second day of the NHL draft.

Murray’s final draft was a little busier than first anticipated as the Lightning added two draft picks prior to the second round. The Ross Colton trade netted a second-round pick and they regained the fourth-round pick that went to Nashville in the Tanner Jeannot deal by sending the Predators a fourth-round pick (previously held by Chicago) in the 2024 draft. With the picks, they selected:

Second Round – Ethan Gauthier

Fourth Round – Jayson Shaugabay

Sixth Round – Warren Clark

Seventh Round – Jack Harvey

Seventh Round – Ethan Hay

They also sent the rights to Corey Perry to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2024. According to Pierre LeBrun, Chicago has signed Perry to a one-year, $4 million contract. That’s $4,000,000. That’s U.S. dollars, not Liberian dollars.

Red Wings acquire Kailer Yamamoto, Kim Klostin [ESPN]

Murray’s old boss Steve Yzerman was up to his old tricks as he picked up a couple of young players from the Edmonton Oilers for nothing, err, future considerations. Edmonton needed to clear some cap space and Detroit was more than willing to take a flyer on the two players.

Islanders trade Josh Bailey, second-round pick to Chicago [Chicago Sun-Times]

Much like they did with the Lightning and Tyler Johnson a few seasons ago, the Blackhawks used their cap space to acquire a 2026 second-round draft pick. Unlike Johnson, it appears Bailey will not be a part of the team as they placed him on waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract.

Jesse Puljujarvi to undergo double-hip surgery [Daily Face-off]

The 25-year-old will face a lengthy recovery time and uncertainty as an unrestricted free agent as the Carolina Hurricanes won’t tender him a contract.

Billie Jean King Enterprises and the Mark Walter Group acquire PHF [The Athletic]

There will be just one women’s professional hockey league in North America next year as the two groups that have an interest in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association have just acquired the PHF in a surprising move (so surprising that members of the PHF reportedly found out at the same time the public did).

As of right now, a lot is unknown about how the league will move forward. PHF players have had their contracts voided and it’s unknown how many of the seven teams in the league will move forward under the new structure. For continuing information be sure to follow The Ice Garden’s Mike Murphy and The Victory Press’ Melissa Burgess on Twitter.

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