The big day is finally here! Representatives from all 30 teams in the National Hockey League have converged on the Prudential Center in New Jersey, home of the New Jersey Devils, to take their picks from the top prospects in the entire league. Are you ready to see what Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman has in store for us?
It is possible that Yzerman has his eyes set on Seth Jones, arguably the best defensive player coming out of this year’s draft.
However, should be snagged by his native Colorado, or by our in-state rival, the Florida Panthers, that could possibly shift Yzerman’s view to the possibility of a power forward.
Right now, the Lightning have a huge 6’4” hole in center on their main line with the departure of captain Vincent Lecavalier; however, if my hockey spidey senses are working properly today, I have a good feeling that center Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads, the number 2 ranked prospect in this year’s draft, is going to be snatched up by the Panthers.
This brings us to left wing Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads.
I have speculated for some time that this would be the ultimate choice of the Bolts. Drouin is loved by the scouts in the NHL, and is said to have a play style very similar to that of Lightning left wing Martin St. Louis.
I know that this is not something that Bolts fans want to hear, but we have to start facing the fact that Marty is not going to be around forever. When the 2014-15 season comes to an end, the longtime Lightning winger becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent, and at 40 years of age, the possibility of St. Louis choosing to hang up his skates becomes a real possibility.
I will tell you one thing for certain, this is one of those instances where I thoroughly hope that I am wrong; however, if I am not, this is something that the Bolts need to be prepared for.
Drouin is ranked 3rd overall out of this year’s prospects. During the 49 games he played with the Mooseheads this season, the Huberdeau, Quebec native scored 41 goals and 64 assists for a total of 105 points to go along with his plus-48 rating.
Surely, Drouin would be an offensive machine for the Lightning. Pair him up on a line with Steven Stamkos, much as they have St. Louis in the past, and watch the pucks fly.
Selecting Drouin would also allow ample time for Drouin to actually work with St. Louis and get a better grasp for the way we work here in Tampa Bay.
While I would be happy with any of the top prospects ready to enter the league this season, I feel like Drouin offers the most potential to the Lightning organization.
Who do you think is set to pose the greatest impact on the Tampa Bay Lightning from the incoming prospects? Leave a comment in the section below and let us know what you think.
Stay tuned to Bolts By The Bay all day as we will have continuing coverage of the 2013 NHL Draft. We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest trade news, deal chatter, and most importantly the Lightning’s selections.