The NHL Draft is almost here. In just over two weeks, representatives from every team in the NHL will descend upon the Prudential Center in New Jersey in hopes of drafting the National Hockey League’s “next big thing”, and trust me, there are plenty to choose from.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have the third overall pick in this year’s draft, and in this article, we’ll discuss why I feel the Lightning will ultimately choose to draft a Forward with that pick.
Honestly, I am of two minds about this subject. There is a part of me deep down at the core that wants to say that the Lightning need to pick a defenseman. This past season, the Lightning were plagued with holes in the defensive line that cost them more than one game.
However, I feel that with the acquisition of defensemen Andrej Sustr, who the Lightning signed to a 2-year entry level contract on March 21st, and Slater Koekkoek, who the Lightning signed to a 3 year contract on the very same day, the Lightning may have all the help they need in that department.
That leads us to goal scorers.
Now, one could contest that we have enough fire power on our team already. To some extent, that would be correct. We have two-time “Rocket” Richard winner Steven Stamkos, the captain, Vincent Lecavalier, and of course, right wing Martin St. Louis; all of which were amongst the top goal scorers for the Lightning and in some cases the league, this season.
However, there is a single dark cloud looming over our heads right now; a dark, evil topic that no one wants to discuss…and with good reason.
(Queue the doom-inspiring music)
At the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, Martin St. Louis will be an Unrestricted Free Agent. Taking into consideration that at this point, the beloved Lightning left winger will be 40 years of age, it is very questionable that he will continue to play for the team. Who knows? He may decide that he wants to play another year or two. Hell, it worked for Dave Andreychuk.
Unfortunately, no matter how much we would love to, we cannot stop our favorite players from getting old and choosing to retire. All the great ones have to hang up their jersey at some point.
This is where I bring our draft pick into question. In the 2013-14 season, you can expect to see names like Tyler Johnson and Brett Connolly on the main Lightning roster, but who will take their place in the circle of hockey life? (Don’t lie, you heard the song from the Lion King in your head just now.)
If you ask my personal opinion, there are two perfect candidates for the Lightning that are both ranked within the Top 3 Prospects for this year’s draft. Those two prospects are Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, both of the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Later on this week, we’ll take a look at both of those prospects and what they could bring to the table for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Do you think the Lightning will end up drafting a forward on June 30th? Who do you think will be the best fit for the team? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think!