The Tampa Bay Lightning’s draft may have been solid for some, including myself, but not so much for other fans. I’m here to either push you one way, or pull you even further away from whichever side you are currently on. So let’s get into a full draft review.
Round 1, Pick 27: Tampa Bay Lightning select Nolan Foote, F, Kelowna Rockets
This is the pick that was cause for debate, as Foote was expected to go in the middle to late stages of the second round, and potentially even the third round. However, the Lightning reached for the brother of their top defensive prospect, Cal Foote, with this pick. I did a scouting report on Foote shortly after day 1 of the draft was completed, but I’ll give you a quick run down. He isn’t a very good skater, but outside of that, possesses a well-balanced, two-way skill-set. If he can hone in on his skating skills, I could easily see him as a second line winger in the future. But again, this was a reach at 27th overall, and there were better options (as it stands today) at that spot.
Draft Pick Grade: C+. Would be a B if he wasn’t such a big reach however.
Round 3, Pick 71: Tampa Bay Lightning select Hugo Alnefelt, G, HV71 J20
The Lightning acquired the 71st overall selection as a part of the JT Miller trade with the Vancouver Canucks at the draft. I also did a scouting report on Alnefelt a few days ago, and I was very impressed with his skills. In short, he is very fluid with his movements in all directions, and is very, very poised in net. He can make clutch saves when needed, and he tracks the puck with such precision, it’s like he’s a programmed machine made to stop a puck. He also has advanced rebound control for his age, and I genuinely believe he could cross over to the AHL as soon as next season to play for the Syracuse Crunch in a backup role. I’m very happy with this pick.
Draft Pick Grade: B+. Would be an A- but we have Andrei Vasilevskiy for the foreseeable future.
Round 3, Pick 89: Tampa Bay Lightning select Maxim Cajkovic, F, St John Sea Dogs
This is my favorite pick, hands down. I did a scouting report on him as well, but this is the last player I scouted, at least for the Lightning’s picks. He’s a Marchand type of player, who plays with an edge and a bit dirty too. He does have a good offensive touch and plays well in the defensive zone. In short, he’s a great pick, but needs to be more disciplined at the next level. I can see him as a middle 6 forward in the future.
Draft Pick Grade: A
Round 4, Pick 120: Tampa Bay Lightning select Maxwell Crozier, D, Sioux Falls
Crozier is an overager at 19 years old, but is coming off of a solid season with Sioux, posting 43 points in 60 games. 20 of those 43 points were primary (goal, primary assists), which is solid, especially for a defenseman. These are his statistics, according to prospect-stats.
As shown above, he ranks on the higher end of the scale in almost every stat, except for expected goals per 60 minutes (eG/60). He has good size, standing at 6’2, 190 pounds, and that’s a pattern you’ll see. Taller or heavier players were coming off the board when Tampa had to make their pick. I do like this selection from an analytical standpoint, but I had no film and can’t make a true assessment on him.
Draft Pick Grade: B-
Round 6, Pick 182: Tampa Bay Lightning select Quinn Schmeimann, D, Kamloops Blazers
Another tall, stocky defenseman, Schmeimann played in the Western Hockey League for Kamloops and did alright. At 17 years old, nearly 18, he scored 5 goals and assisted on 23 more for 28 total points, with 14 points being primary. Here’s more from prospect-shifts.
Again, Schmeimann does well analytically, outside of two metrics: eA1/60 (expected primary assists in 60 minutes) and eG/60 (expected goals in 60 minutes). I like the selection, but there was no film on him, and I cannot give him the good ol’ eye test. I will be keeping a close eye on his development into next season.
Draft Pick Grade: C+
Round 7, Pick 198: Tampa Bay Lightning select Mikhail Shalagin, F, Spartak Moskva
Shalagin is a tall kid, standing at 6’4, but is an unhealthy 168 pounds. However, despite his very lanky stature, he managed to dominate the MHL (second tier Russian league). The Russian hockey player is 19, turning 20 in September of this year, which makes him 2 years older than some of the other prospects in this draft. However, he scored 48 goals and 27 assists (75 points) in 45 games played. 45 games played is not a typo, he was just that good. Sure, there’s the Russia factor, and sure, he is an overager, but I still feel very happy with this selection. There’s no Prospect-Stats page for him, and also no film, but he looks like a very intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. Potential late bloomer, similar to that of Nikita Gusev.
Draft Pick Grade: B
Round 7, Pick 213: Tampa Bay Lightning select McKade Webster, F, Green Bay Gamblers
The Lightning’s final selection was an undersized left winger in Webster (5’10, 159 pounds), who posted 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 58 games played in the season prior. However, he only played 6 games this past season, with 2 assists. He is committed to the University of Denver next season, and if he can remain healthy and produce at a good level in college, than this could be another solid selection.
Webster didn’t place too well in the games he did wind up playing last season. Currently, it was just a casual 7th round selection, nothing very special and likely won’t play an NHL game. However, that could all change with a good NCAA season or two.
Draft Pick Grade: C
The Lightning drafted well, in my opinion. Nolan Foote may have been a reach, but he’s still a good prospect. Maxim Cajkovic and Hugo Alnefelt were fantastic third round selections. Outside of the first three picks, they took fliers on some potentially solid bottom 6 forwards. All in all, I’d give their draft a B- grade. It wasn’t anything great, but it wasn’t awful either. Only time will tell which way this draft leans towards more: Good or Bad.
All stats via Prospect-Stats and eliteprospects