Lightning Have Options in Draft
Pair of Second-Round Picks Give Tampa Bay Plenty of Ammo
One thing is for certain, the Lightning’s two picks in the second round (32nd overall and Philadelphia’s second-round pick) give them options other teams would be envious of. Whether General Manager Brian Lawton and his scouting staff make the two selections or use them to move up in the draft, regarded as extremely deep, Tampa Bay will be dealing from a position of strength come June 27 in Montreal.
“In my mind, the most important point in having two second round picks is the ability to move up in the draft,” Lightning Assistant General Manager Claude Loiselle said. “If you find that there is a player you really like, and it could be a late first-round pick, you can trade those two picks and move up to possibly acquire a first-round pick.”
A perfect example is the case of the New Jersey Devils trading up to draft Zach Parise. The Devils dealt a pair of picks to obtain the 17th overall pick which they used to take the North Dakota product in the 2003 draft.
“The picks are valuable,” Loiselle said. “Particularly in a draft that is as strong as this one. When you walk into a draft you have your list of players, a list of guys that you’ve pre-approved through your scouting system. Whatever you like about players, whether its competiveness, speed, smarts, whatever it is, you’ve got your group of guys that you’re looking to build your team with. If one of those guys are available and you know that another team is willing to trade that pick for two second round picks and maybe a player, who knows. But having the picks gives you ammunition going into the draft.”
With a lack of organizational depth each pick is magnified. The Lightning have had one selection in the second round since 2005, taking Dana Tyrell in 2007. Matt Smaby is the most recent second-round pick to see significant time with the Lightning after being selected 41st overall in 2003.
In 2002 the Detroit Red Wings used two second-round picks to draft Hudler and current Washington Capital Tomas Fleischmann. Not too bad for a single round. Should the Lightning use their second-round picks this year, they will be looking for the best available players as opposed to searching to fill certain positions.
“The philosophy is to always take the best player available,” Loiselle said. “If it takes you two, three, four years to develop a player who knows what you’re going to do during those years and who’s going to become available. You select the best player available and the same goes for the first or second pick overall. You don’t pick by position, you pick by the best player available, period.”
Notable Second Round Picks since 2001