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Lightning tries to find scorers of the future in the NHL draft

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The Tampa Bay Lightning tried to boost their offense during Saturday’s second day of the NHL draft.

A day after drafting center Brett Howden, the Bolts selected four more centers and two wingers.

Tampa Bay traded minor league defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, a former first-round pick, for the right to take Libor Hajek, a defenseman from the Czech Republic. Later in the second round, the Bolts added left winger Boris Katchouk and right winger Taylor Raddysh.

In Hajek, the Bolts got a defenseman it obviously likes more than DeAngelo. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound defenseman skated in 69 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League last season, recording three goals and 26 points to go along with 76 penalty minutes. He led all Saskatoon rookies for points and assists with 23. The Smrcek, Czech Republic native was selected second overall in the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

With the 44th overall selection, the Lightning drafted Katchouk. The Waterloo, Ontario native played 63 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds last season, posting 24 goals and 51 points to go along with 61 penalty minutes.  Katchouk, 18, ranked fourth on the Greyhounds for points and was fifth among all OHL rookies in scoring. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound forward was tied for the team lead with six goals during the 2016 OHL playoffs.

The Bolts selected Raddysh with the 58th pick in the draft. Raddysh, 18, played in 58 games with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League last season, recording 24 goals and 73 points to go along with 18 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound forward ranked third on the Otters for scoring. The Caledon, Ontario native opened the 2015-16 season on a nine-game point streak, posting five goals and 14 points over that stretch.

The Lightning selected goaltender Connor Ingram in the third round, 89th overall. Ingram, 19, appeared in 61 games with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, posting a 34-15-9 record to go along with a 2.61 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. The 6-foot, 212-pound goaltender ranked fourth for save percentage and seventh in goals-against average in the WHL. The Imperial, Saskatchewan native also tied for fifth in the WHL in shutouts with four.

With the 118th overall pick in the fourth round, the Lightning selected forward Ross Colton from the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL. Colton, 19, skated in 55 games with Cedar Rapids, posting 35 goals and 66 points to go along with 79 penalty minutes. The Robbinsville, New Jersey native ranked second in the USHL in points and goals. The 6-foot, 190-pound forward also  tied for eighth in the league with nine power-play goals.

 The Lightning drafted Christopher Paquette in the fifth round, 148th overall. Paquette, 18, played in 57 games with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL, registering five goals and 16 points to go along with 18 penalty minutes. The Kingston, Ontario native has recorded 12 goals and 30 points in 111 career OHL games over two seasons with Niagara. Paquette is a cousin of current Bolt Cedric Paquette.

With the 178th overall selection in the sixth round, the Bolts selected defenseman Oleg Sosunov. The Ryazan, Russia native skated in 39 games with Loko-Yunior of the Russia Jr. 2 league, recording four goals and 12 points to go along with 66 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound defenseman also appeared in three games with Yaroslavl of the Russia Jr. League.

The Lightning selected forward Otto Somppi with the 206th overall pick in the seventh round. Somppi, 18, skated in 59 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, recording 13 goals and 46 points to go along with 25 penalty minutes. The Helsinki, Finland native ranked second on the Mooseheads for goals, assists and points. The 6-foot, 180-pound forward ranked eighth in the QMJHL for points among all rookies.

With their final pick, 208th overall in the seventh round, the Bolts drafted forward Ryan Lohin. The 6-foot, 193-pound forward recorded 23 goals and 57 points in 62 USHL games, splitting time between the Madison Capitols and Waterloo Black Hawks. The Chester, Pennsylvania native tied for eighth in the USHL for points and assists.

There was no new word on either Ben Bishop or Steven Stamkos, although Vancouver might be punished for comments about Stamkos and P.K. Subban of Montreal.

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 garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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