Tampa Bay Lightning draft recap
The Lightning have seven picks today and we’ll bring them to you as they happen.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have seven picks in rounds two through seven on the second day of the 2018 NHL draft. This is a live blog to bring you those picks and some quick information about the players drafted in real time. Please join us in the comments as we go. We’ll follow up this week with more in depth thoughts.
As the day starts, here’s the current consolidated rankings with players already drafted in round one grayed out.
The Lightning don’t have any drastic needs in their prospect pipeline so expect them to take the best player on their board with each pick today. That leaves plenty of options and we should be in for some fun.
The Lightning picks at the start of the day before any trades are:
Round 2 - Pick 59
Round 3 - Pick 90
Round 4 - Pick 121
Round 5 - Pick 152
Round 6 - Pick 183
Round 7 - Pick 206
Round 7 - Pick 214
Second Round - Pick 59
Gabriel Fortier - LW, 5’7”, 170 lbs, 59 points in 66 games in the QMJHL
High compete level and hockey sense. Put up good offensive numbers in the QMJHL. Projects as a bottom six energy forward. Needs a little more weight on his frame, but he’s a good skater with speed. If his offensive skills come along a big further, he sounds like he could be a Mathieu Joseph type prospect.
This is a little higher than the rankings had him and given the talent still on the board, it seems like a slight reach but not a terrible one by any means. Based on scouting reports, he has everything in the toolbox except the high end scoring. Scouts praise his effort, two-way play, and forechecking. Fifty nine points isn’t nothing either. He fits the Lightning profile of high IQ, high effort forwards.
If possible, it would be nice to see the Lightning take a swing at a player with more scoring punch in the third round. They’ve stocked the pipeline with middle and bottom six forwards similar to Fortier and could use some players who specialize in filling the net.
Third Round - Pick 90
Dmitri Semykin - RD, 6’3”, 201 lbs, 15 points in 41 games in the MHL
Here we go again. The Lightning go off the board in the third round taking a Russian player. This time, they choose Dmitri Semykin, a big right-handed defender. He was only ranked by one scouting service, McKeen’s Hockey at 215th overall.
Last year’s off-the-board pick, Alex Volkov, worked out well. He was one of the final cuts in training camp and will likely compete for a roster spot this year. The question with picks like this is always how much later the Lightning could have drafted him. With plenty of talent still on the board at this point in the third round, it seems like the Lightning could’ve taken a higher rated prospect and still had a shot at Semykin later. But without knowing what intelligence they had on other teams’ draft board, we can’t know for sure.
We’ll have to do more research to have any insight into his game but for now, this is a classic Lightning draft so far: a small, high IQ, high energy forward with some skill and an off-the-board Russian that sends everyone scrambling to learn about him.
Fourth Round - Pick 121
Alex Green - RD, 6’2”, 187 lbs, 10 points in 29 games in the NCAA at Cornell
The Lightning make another interesting pick in the fourth round. Green is a big right shot defender. He was unranked by all but one of the services we reviewed. But the one that did rank him had him 76th overall. He’s 20 years old and just finished his freshman year at Cornell.
According the scouting report we read, he’s a smart defensive player who makes a good first pass with a limited offensive game. He isn’t a particularly physical player so this isn’t a “pick the big D who hits” situation. His defensive game is more about his smarts than anything else and that’s a decent profile for a player at this point in the draft. He’s an interesting addition to the prospect pipeline and because he’s 20 years old already, could be on an accelerated timeline.
Fifth Round - Pick 152
Magnus Chrona - G, 6’4”, 209 lbs,
.931 SV% in 15 games in Swedish J18 Elit
.954 SV% in 7 games in Swedish J18 Allsvenskan
Chrona is another off the board pick for the Lightning but in the fifth round, that’s fine. He put up impressive numbers in Swedish juniors but that’s not a particularly strong indicator of future performance. At 6’4”, he’s got plenty of size. The Lightning needed another goalie in the pipeline. They don’t have much behind Connor Ingram in Syracuse and Chrona will now fill that opening.
Goalies are notoriously hard to project so this is the appropriate place to draft one. We likely won’t know much about him for several years. At age 17, he’s still probably five years away from being anything close to a finished product. This is a pick that makes sense in terms of organizational need and allows the Lightning to cross goaltending off their shopping list for this draft.
Sixth Round - Pick 183
Cole Koepke - F, 6’1”, 196 lbs, 39 points in 60 games in the USHL
Koepke played in the USHL last year alongside fellow Lightning prospect Sammy Walker. Koepke is another 20 year old overager who missed most of the 16-17 season with an injury after going undrafted in his first draft year.
He has some interesting skills, especially for a player drafted this late. He’s a goal scorer. Of his 39 points, 28 were goals and scouts like his shot so that isn’t a fluke. He’s also a good skater and that won’t be an issue for him at the professional level. For a sixth round pick, he certainly has some upside. It seems like the Lightning may have found a player who fell off other teams’ radars because of the injury last year.
Seventh Round - Pick 206
Sadim Salda - D, 6’0”, 185 lbs, 41 points in 62 games in the QMJHL
Salda is an against-type pick for the Lightning. Scouts describe him as a player with good tools but whose fatal flaw is decisions making. He’s a good skater. He can make the first pass out of the zone. He’s got a decent shot and he can join in the offense.
But despite having the raw ability, most of the scouting report focuses on just how bad his decision making is. One even said that he looks so bad at times that if you only saw those games, you wouldn’t want him in a 15 round draft.
The Lightning must be thinking here that they can coach him up and get the most out of the physical skills. At this point in the draft, I like this kind of bet. Salda clearly has the talent. The challenge now is to get him to think the game well enough to let that talent shine.
Seventh Round - Pick 214
Ty Taylor - G, 6’3”, 201 lbs, .931 SV% in 31 games in the BCHL
The Lightning end their draft taking a second goalie to go with Magnus Chrona. Taylor played with the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL last year and put up good numbers but again, that doesn’t mean too much. This is another late round flyer and gives the organization another player in the goalie pipeline.
Taylor will head to the NCAA next year to play at the University of New Hampshire. That makes him the third player drafted by the Lightning this year who will be in the NCAA next season.
And with that, we’ve reached the end of the draft. Look for more in-depth coverage on the draftees this week as we dive in to bring you everything you need to know on the new additions to the Lightning organization.