If the Tampa Bay Lightning proved any point at all during its run to the Stanley Cup Finals, it was this:
In hockey, the way a player is developed can often count more than where he was drafted.
Perhaps that was what general manager Steve Yzerman was thinking late Friday night when the Lightning traded out of the first round of the NHL draft. The Lightning held the 28th overall draft pick (having traded the 29th pick earlier in the Braydon Coburn deal), but opted to move backward to pick up an extra selection.
The Bolts will pick third in today’s second round of the draft (as well as 14th). It picked up a pick in the third round (72nd overall) to move backward.
Is there a method in the madness? Perhaps. The Lightning has Ondrej Palat, a player it obtained in the seventh round of the draft, and Tyler Johnson, a player who went undrafted. If Tampa Bay didn’t like the players it had left to pick from, moving down a few picks didn’t seem like that great a price to pay.
Rounds 2-7 will be held today. The Lightning will have two second-round picks, two thirds, two fourths, a fifth, two sixths and a seventh.