April 5, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

Tampa Bay Lightning’s First Round Draft Recap: 2008 – 2011

After much anticipation comes the final installment of the three-part Lightning First Round Draft Pick series, in which we will cover the last five Lightning First-Rounders.

2008 – (1st Overall) Steven Stamkos : Center
Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy Winner : 2009-10, 52G / 2011-12, 60G
Hart Memorial Trophy Finalist: 2011-12 (With Henrik Lundqvist and Evgeni Malkin)

A deadly sniper from Markham, Ontario, Steven Stamkos is no stranger to finding the back of the net.  Playing for OHL’s Sarnia Sting of the CHL Stamkos 100 goals and 97 assists through 124 games earning him the top spot in the NHL Central Scouting Rankings for the 2008 draft.  After another lackluster campaign, the Tampa Bay Lightning again finished 5th in the SE Division en route to securing the #1 Draft Pick.  Naturally the keen-eyed sniper with a deadly one-timer was snatched by the Bolts.  In his first NHL season Stamkos would go on to score 46 points (23g, 23a) over 79 games, he hasn’t looked back since.  In continuing to improve his game Stamkos went on to 156 goals over his next three seasons, collecting two “Rocket” Richard trophies in the process.  In addition to his outstanding goal-scoring capability, Stamkos has also improved his two-way game and more importantly his role as a leader on and off the ice, recently being awarded an ‘A’ on his sweater as one of the Assistant Captains with of the Bolts.  This writer firmly believes that Steven Stamkos will be the next Bolt to wear the ‘C’ on his chest.

Stats while with TBL: 325GP : 179G : 150A : 329Pts
TBL Records: Most Goals In A Season: 2011-12, 60g
NHL Records: Most OT Goals In A Season: 2011-12, 12g

Apr 04, 2012; Montreal, QC, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) before the first period against Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-US PRESSWIRE

2009 – (2nd Overall) Victor Hedman : Defense

Tampa Bay’s “Big Swede” was drafted after the IslandersJohn Tavares in 2009.  Wanting to beef up the blueline, Tampa Bay succeeded in nabbing this 6’6″ 230lbs tower.  Hedman would go on to start the season following the 2009 draft.  Since then he has been a permanent fixture in the Lightning Defensive Corps and despite suffering a concussion during the 2011-12 season he would still return to finish out the year.  Around the hockey-sphere outside of Tampa Bay he is known as one of the contributing factors that led to the year-plus long absence of Sidney Crosby after boarding the Penguins Star in January 2011.

Stats while with TBL: 214GP : 12G : 57A : 69Pts : -6

2009 – (29th Overall) Carter Ashton : Right Winger

The son of former NHLer Brent Ashton, Carter was Tampa Bay’s second first-round pick of the 2009 draft.  A pretty solid forward, who with development should be a consistent 20-goal scorer in the NHL, was bounced around the WHL (playing with three different teams).  when the 2011-12 NHL Trade Deadline came, Ashton was traded to Toronto for Defenseman Keith Aulie.

Stats while with TBL: 0GP : 0G : 0A : 0Pts

2010 – (6th Overall) Brett Connolly : Right Winger

The hot-shot from the Prince George Cougars (WHL: 144GP, 86G, 66A, 156Pts) was picked up by the Bolts in 2010 and would go on to win a roster spot during the following season’s training camp.  Though his first campaign with the Lightning was a bit of a let-down from all the hype, it was still a great learning and development experience for the young forward, who I believe will be considered a Top-6 Forward in the near future.  Though he does have a lot of learning in front of him to adapt to the NHL level, Connolly is up to the task and should easily become a guaranteed 20-goal scorer.

Stats while with TBL: 68GP : 4G : 11A : 15Pts

Jan 20, 2012; London, ON, Canada; London Knights right wing Vladislav Namestnikov (18) during their game against the Owen Sound Attack at the John Labatt Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

2011 – (27th Overall) Vladislav Namestnikov : Center

In what is surely to be called the “Russian Invasion” draft of 2011, Namestnikov of the London Knights was picked up by GM Steve Yzerman.  In his two seasons with the OHL’s London Knights he has notched 52G and 87A.  Despite the prevalent Russian Stereotypes of late, Namestnikov is anything but a prima donna, he already has a fairly solid two-way game and looks to help the team succeed more than he himself.  Namestnikov recently played with the Knights in the CHL Memorial Cup Championship, unfortunately being defeated by the QMJHL Shawinigan Cataractes.  Once he gets the call to come to the Show (which should be soon) I do not foresee him leaving any time soon to join the American League.

Stats while with TBL: 0GP : 0G : 0A : 0Pts

And that concludes the recap.  Who will Tampa Bay choose in 2012?  Check out Bolts By The Bay’s picks during Fansided NHL’s 2012 Mock Draft! 10th Pick and 19th Pick

#beRELENTLESS
- Jim Courteau

Follow me on Twitter @BlackSheepJim

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Tags: Nhl Draft Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman

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