Complete Tampa Bay Lightning Draft Coverage
The 2015 NHL Entry Draft will be held June 26-27 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Draft Selections By Round
Second Round - No. 33 (from NYI) - Mitchell Stephens - C
After trading out of the first round on Friday, dealing pick No. 28 to the New York Islanders for a second- (33rd overall) and third-round (72nd) selection, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally got to call a name early Saturday at the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
That name: Mitchell Stephens.
Stephens, an 18-year-old center from Peterborough, Ontario, played 62 games for Saginaw of the OHL in 2014-15 and tallied 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists).
At 5-foot-11, 188 pounds, Stephens is a right-handed shot who scored five goals and added five assists while playing seven games for the Canadien U-18 team in 2014-15.
Second Round - No. 44 (from BOS) - Matt Spencer - D
With their second selection of the second round, 44th overall, the Tampa Bay Lightning chose Matthew Spencer, a defenseman out of Petersborough of the OHL.
Spencer is a 6-foot-2, 203 pound right-handed shot who registered 30 points (6 goals, 24 assists) in 2014-15 with the Petes.
“It’s feels incredible,” Spencer said of being drafted by the Lightning. “It’s pretty relieving at this point. It’s been a pretty whirlwind weekend, and I’m just glad the waiting’s over.”
The 18-year-old Spencer played seven games with the Canadian U-18 team in 2014-15 and had two assists in seven games.
Spencer said his skating is the one aspect of his game he’s improved over the last year.
“I consider myself a very strong defensive defenseman, someone that can contribute offensively as well,” Spencer said. “I think that style of play is good in any situation.”
Spencer said he watched the Lightning in the Stanley Cup and was extremely impressed with the team’s work ethic.
“They’re a team that relies on its creativity and hard work,” Spencer said. “I’m hoping to bring that style of play as well.”
Spencer is a native of Guelph, Ontario.
Third Round - No. 64 (from EDM via ANA) - Dennis Yan - LW
The Lightning grabbed Dennis Yan, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound left wing, with the 64th overall pick (third round) at the 2015 NHL Draft.
Yan, 18, comes to Tampa Bay via the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He scored 33 goals and added 31 assists (64 points) in 2014-15 with Shawinigan and led all QMJHL rookies in goals.
Yan called it a “dream” to be selected by Tampa Bay, saying the Lightning were his favorite team growing up.
“I had a good feeling it was coming,” Yan said. “I spoke with Tampa Bay a lot. My agent knows (Lightning GM Steve Yzerman), and I’ve met him a couple times before the draft.”
Yan said he’s a skilled forward and thinks he will fit in well with the Lightning.
“I’m a goal scorer, and I like to be with the puck and make the guys around me better,” he said.
Yan was born in Portland, Ore., but moved to Russia with his family at a young age before coming back to the United States. He skated with the U.S. Under-17 team for the 2013-14 season and collected 12 goals and 14 assists (26 points) in 48 games.
While part of the U.S. Under-18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial 2014, Yan scored in the final minute of overtime of the bronze-medal game against Sweden. He tied for second on the U.S. with eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in five tournament games.
Third Round - No. 72 (from NYI) - Anthony Cirelli - C
The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired an extra selection in the 2015 NHL Draft when they traded out of Friday’s first round, giving the 28th overall pick to the New York Islanders in exchange for a second-round (33rd overall) and third-round (72nd) selection.
On Saturday, the Lightning used that extra third-round pick to draft Anthony Cirelli, a 17-year-old center from Woodbridge, Ontario.
Cirelli played for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL in 2014-15 and had 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 68 games. He was plus-34 for the regular season. In 16 playoff games, Cirelli provided a goal and five assists for the Generals.
Cirelli is a left-handed shooter measuring in at 6-foot, 165 pounds.
Cirelli is the third player from Ontario the Lightning have drafted out of their first four selections.
Fourth Round - No. 118 (from ANA) - Jonne Tammela - RW
The Tampa Bay Lightning used their first of two picks in the fourth round to take Jonne Tammela, a 17-year-old right wing from Finland.
The 5-foot-11, 185 pounds Tammela played for KalPa of Liiga, the top professional hockey league in Finland, and had four goals in 32 games.
“It’s an honor to be picked by Tampa Bay, just a great feeling right now,” Tammela said a few minutes after being selected with the 118th overall pick.
Tammela played for the Finnish Under-18 team and accumulated 25 points (7 goals, 18 assists) and was plus-six in 23 games.
“I think I’m a skilled forward that can play both ways and can score goals and make some nice moves,” Tammela said.
Fourth Round - No. 120 - Mathieu Joseph - RW
With two selections in the fourth round, the Tampa Bay Lightning took Matheiu Joseph with the 120th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Joseph was the Bolts’ second pick in the fourth round, the Lightning having selected Finnish forward Jonne Tammela two picks earlier.
“I think they’re a really good team,” Joseph said of the Lightning. “They’re pretty young. They have some good young players for the future. I think it’s really exciting for me to be a part of this organization.”
Joseph, from Chambly, Quebec, played with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL in 2014-15 and accumulated 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists) in 59 regular season games. During five playoff games with the Sea Dogs, Joseph had one goals and two assists.
Joseph described himself as a power forward that can bring offense and play on the penalty kill as well.
“(The Lightning) are a fast team,” Joseph said. “I think I like that…I’m a fast player too. There’s some underrated guys also on their team. They can really be a big, big team in the next couple of years.”
Joseph is a 6-foot, 168 –pound, 18-year old right wing.
Said Joseph on his draft selection: “It’s such a fun moment. I think it’s probably the best of my life right now. I just really can’t describe what happened. I’m still shaking.”
Fifth Round - No. 150 - Ryan Zuhlsdorf - D
The Tampa Bay Lightning had just one selection in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft on Saturday.
The Lightning used it to choose Ryan Zuhlsdorf, a 17-year-old defenseman from Edina, Minn.
Zuhlsdorf was the 150th overall pick of the draft.
Zuhlsdorf spent the 2014-15 season with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. In 61 games (regular season and postseason), Zuhlsdorf was plus-21 and registered three goals and 21 assists (24 points).
As a member of the U.S. Under-19 team, Zuhlsdorf tallied two assists in four games in 2014-15.
Zuhlsdorf is a 6-foot, 194-pound, left-handed defenseman. He committed to the University of Minnesota in May of 2014.
Sixth Round - No. 153 (from ARI) - Kristian Oldham - G
The Tampa Bay Lightning had the second selection in the sixth round of the 2015 NHL Draft.
The Lightning used it to pick Kristian Oldham, an 18-year-old goaltender from Anchorage, Alaska.
In 2014-15 with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, Oldham played in 33 games, posting a 2.49 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.
Oldham committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where current Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr played his collegiate hockey, in February of 2015.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen in the draft, whether I was going to be taken high, low or even taken at all,” Oldham said. “But, I’m glad it worked out.”
Oldham, the 153rd overall selection, said he interviewed with Tampa midway through his USHL season.
“We had a really good talk, and I knew they were interested,” Oldham said. “I’m just glad I made it.”
Oldham said he has shown the most progress in the mental side of his game in the past year.
“Physically, I had the attributes,” said Oldham, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 205 pounds. “Mentally, I had to be prepared to perform every night, through thick or thin keep playing. I think taking that step mentally really helped to where I am now.”
Sixth Round - No. 180 - Bokondji Imama - LW
The Tampa Bay Lightning selected 18-year-old Montreal native Bokondji Imama with its second selection in the sixth round (180th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
“It’s an honor,” Imama said of being drafted. “It’s a dream come true but just the beginning of the dream. I will enjoy my day, happy to get drafted but looking forward to having an impact.”
Imama split the 2014-15 season between Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. With Baie-Comeau, Imama had 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) in 36 games. At Saint John, he racked up nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) in 23 games and added one assist in five playoffs games.
Imama is a 6-foot-1, 214-pound left wing.
“I’m a physical player,” Imama said when asked to describe his style of play. “I love to fight, but I can play the game too. I like to create energy, step up for my teammates.”
Imama said he watched the Lightning during their Stanley Cup run with interest because of a trio of acquaintances on the Bolts.
2015 NHL Draft Trades
|Lightning get:||Islanders get:|
|2015 2nd Round Pick (No. 33)
2015 3rd Round Pick No. 72)
2015 1st Round Pick (No. 28 overall)
|Lightning get:||Oilers get:|
|2016 7th Round Pick (DAL)
2015 7th Round Pick (No. 208 overall)
2015 NHL Draft
See how NHL Central Scouting ranks the best draft-eligible prospects in the world heading into the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla.