The 2013 NHL Entry Draft: What Will Steve Yzerman Do?

 June 30, 2013 is a big day for Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Prudential Center in Newark hosts this year’s NHL Entry Draft where making a bad decision can jeopardize your team and ruin your career as a General Manager. What is Steve Yzerman going to do?
Have you heard the rumor about a convoluted deal involving Vincent Lecavalier and the Toronto Maple Leafs? Really, anything can happen…and most likely will.

The Lightning has had its share of successes with first round picks: Roman HamrlikChris GrattonDaymond Langkow and, of course, Vinny and Stammer. And then there was Mario LarocqueNikita AlexeevAlexander Svitov, and Andy Rogers…yes, Andy Rogers.

You get the picture. The entry draft can be a crapshoot. So what magical moves does the Bolt’s GM have up his sleeve?

There’s no shortage of challenges for Steve Yzerman. While the Lightning was 3rd overall in goals per game this year, their power play was mediocre at 13th, penalty killing was dismal at 19th, and our goals against average was downright pathetic at 26thin the league.

Assuming that Colorado doesn’t have a brain cramp, the consensus is that NHL-ready D-man, Seth Jones, is gone with the first pick. If that scenario plays out, the Panthers most likely would either be looking at Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin.

Let’s hope our cross-state rivals follow the rankings of NHL Central Scouting and take MacKinnon with their pick. If Yzerman trusted me with his selection, I’d draft Jonathan Drouin any day.

Both players (and teammates), though, have huge upsides. In addition to being named QMJHL’s regular season and playoff MVP, Drouin was selected as the Canadian Hockey League’s Player of the Year. Having played only 5 more games than MacKinnon, he tallied 30 more points finishing with 105 points on 41 goals and 64 assists in 49 games for the Halifax Mooseheads. How do you pass on that kind of talent?

Let me tell you how. Since Yzerman is apparently married to Bishop and Lindback for the forseeable future, the goalie situation, for better or for worse, seems untouchable. He could trade up to get Jones, but I don’t think either Colorado or Florida is stupid, so that’s highly unlikely.

If he’s more interested in winning now than he is in building a long-term legacy, then Yzerman could trade down and get some help for the power play, penalty kill, and a defense that is often porous.

If you’re Steve Yzerman on the last day of June, what would you do? Take the poll below and leave us a comment. I’m really interested to know what moves you would make to improve our Bolts on draft day.

What will Yzerman do at the draft?

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