Lightning Round: Could there be some undrafted rookie signings in the Lightning's future?

With limited draft picks, they may have to find future Bolts a different way.

Lightning Round: Could there be some undrafted rookie signings in the Lightning's future?
Syracuse Crunch Alex Barré-Boulet (12) with the puck against the Utica Comets in American Hockey League (AHL) action in the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in Utica, New York on Saturday, February 18, 2023. Syracuse won 8-5. Photo by Scott Thomas (Scott Thomas Photography)

As we all are quite aware of, the Tampa Bay Lightning don't have very many picks in the upcoming NHL draft. As of right now they have three. Total. One in the sixth round and two in the seventh. It's likely that the only players left at that point will be long-term projects that will likely spend a few years either in college or in their current junior or European leagues.

With a need to fill spots in the organization and the chance to find a diamond in the rough, could they resort to undrafted free agents to help boost their prospect ranks. Over at Pro Hockey Rumors they listed a few possible CHL free agents. These are players that are no longer eligible for the NHL draft, but have used up their junior eligibility.

It's a ploy the Lightning have used in the past, most notably with Alex Barré-Boulet. They also signed Bennett MacArthur last spring after his QMJHL career ended. The 22-year-old spent most of the season with Orlando where he put up 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 53 games. He didn't record a point in 4 games with the Crunch. With some of the defections that will be happening at the AHL level next season, MacArthur should have an excellent shot at making the team.

He'll likely competing with Tristan Allard, who was signed out of the QMJHL by the Crunch this past spring. While not on a NHL contract yet, he'll likely get an invite to the prospects camp this summer and the Lightning will be able to take a look at a forward that put up 77 points (27 goals, 50 points) in his overage season at Rouyn-Noranda this season.

That is one of the benefits of signing these players. There path to the pros is almost immediate. Instead of drafting an 18-year-old that will spend the next couple of years in junior hockey or college, they will head right into professional hockey.

A team will also have a better idea of what that player will be as a professional. Common sense tells you that a 21-year-old has developed into the type of player they will be than an 18-year-old. With more film available, teams can better determine how they will fit into their system.

The drawback is that you are competing with 31 other teams so it could drive the price up a bit. Players have the opportunity to bid teams against each other to get the best deal.

You're also dealing with players that have passed over at least twice in the draft. These days there aren't all that many diamonds hiding in the rough. There are reasons or some perceived flaw that have prevented teams from bringing them into the system prior to this summer.

Still, the rewards could outweigh the risks for the Lightning. With limited drafting opportunities to build up their farm system, they will have to think outside the box in order to bring in young talent.

Lightning / NHL News

Tampa Bay's most durable athletes [Tampa Bay Times]

Marty St. Louis and his streak of 499 consecutive starts is the record for the Lightning. It would have been 500 or more if he hadn't been whacked in the face with the puck during the morning skate.

Charles Barkley has a message for Jon Cooper [NHL on TNT Twitter]

The friendship between Barkley and Coach Cooper continues as Chuck has some kind words for Coop as the Lightning coach makes his debut on the NHL studio show.

Vegas defeats Dallas in overtime (again) Defending Big D

Dallas almost snuck out of Vegas with a series split, but Jonathan Marchessault tied things up in the last minute of regulation and Chandler Stephenson won it just over a minute into overtime.

Vegas heads to Dallas up 2-0 in the series [Knights on Ice]

For the first time in NHL history both series went to overtime in their first two games. Dallas is now 0-4 in bonus hockey in this year's playoffs. Keep it to 60 minutes and they're fine.

Calgary Flames to hire Craig Conroy as their next GM [Flames Nation]

It's probably a good idea to have a general manager in place before the draft and free agency. It's reported that the Flames have chosen their successor to Brad Treliving. They didn't go to far outside the family as Conroy has been an assistant general manager for Calgary since 2014-15.

Joe Veleno suspended for five games [TSN]

The Detroit Red Wings forward was suspended for basically the remainder of the World Championship after he stomped on the ankle of Nino Niederreiter. Not cool Joe, not cool at all.

Results of the IIHF Men's World Championship

Germany 7, Hungary 2

Slovakia 1, Slovenia 0

USA 9, France 0

Switzerland 4, Czechia 2

With just a couple of days left in group play the Lightning players in the tournament have put up the following totals:

Nick Perbix (USA) 6 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, 19:39 ice time

Michael Eyssimont (USA) 6 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 13:51 ice time

Rudolfs Balcers (Latvia) 6 games, 0 goals, 5 assists, 17:46 ice time