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Lightning hopes to find future stars in tonight’s NHL draft

in Sports/Top Headlines by

Once, the Tampa Bay Lightning depended on losing to make their drafts better.

These days, they depend on organization.

The Lightning, in the NHL’s final four each of the last two seasons, have become a strong team organizationally the last few seasons under Steve Yzerman. They have finds such as Tyler Johnson, who was undrafted, and Ondrej Palat, who went in the seventh round.

In tonight’s draft, the Bolts pick 27th, 44th and 58th. That means the Lightning won’t get one of the draft’s biggest names, but they should be able to develop players who will help.

Of course, the draft isn’t the most notable thing the Bolts will do this summer. They will also try to retain Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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