Tampa Bay Lightning’s First Round Draft Recap: 1998 – 2007


Two days ago I recapped the first six 1st Round Draft Picks of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Now it is time for the next six skaters to get nabbed by the Bolts.  But first, a recap of one through six:

1992: D Roman Hamrlik
1993: C Chris Gratton
1994: C Jason Wiemer
1995: C Daymond Langkow
1996: D Mario Larocque
1997: D Paul Mara

On to the next six:

1998 – (1st Overall) Vincent Lecavalier : Center
Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy Winner : 2007, 52G
After two years of Junior Hockey with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic, where he played with former Bolt Brad Richards, Lecavalier was drafted by Tampa Bay.  An easy pick to make as he was awarded the Michel Bergeron Trophy (QMJHL Top Rookie Forward) and RDS Cup (QMJHL Top Overall Rookie) after showing he had quite the knack for scoring, using his big size to power through the blueline.  He started playing for Tampa Bay directly following the draft during the 1998-99 season, scoring 13G and 15A in 82 games.  That first season would be his only season with the Lightning where he would not score more than 20 goals.  In 2000-01 he was named Captain of the Lightning, making him the youngest player to be named Captain since Steve Yzerman.  He would only Captain the Lightning for that sole season, as it was felt he was not mature enough to handle the responsibilities and because of the many issues between him and Coach John Tortorella.  Aside from his goal scoring capability, Lecavalier is also best known for his scrap with Calgary Flames Captain Jarome Iginla during the Stanley Cup Finals, which helped to solidfy his role as a leader on the team.  In 2008 he was re-awarded the Captaincy and has filled that role ever since.  Though his offensive production has declined, under the tutelage of Coach Guy Boucher he has improved other aspects of his game, most noticably his two-way game.

Stats while with TBL: 998GP : 373G : 469A : 842Pts

1999 – No First Round Pick

2000 – (Eigth Overall) Nikita Alexeev : Winger
A tower of a forward (listed at 6’6″) Alexeev was a decent scorer with the Erie Otters of the OHL scoring 35, 53, and 72 points in his three season tenure.  However that knack for scoring never translated to the NHL game.  Spending two and a half seasons with Tampa Bay he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Karl Stewart and a 6th Round pick in 2007.  After that trade he only played 15 more games in the NHL and left for Russia the following season.

Stats while with TBL: 144GP : 18G : 17A : 35Pts

2001 – (Third Overall) Alexander Svitov : Center
After being drafted Svitov two seasons back and forth between the Tampa Bay Lightning and their AHL affiliates, until being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Darryl Sydor.  He would last play in the NHL for the Blue Jackets in 2006-07 before returning to Russia to play for the KHL.

Stats while with TBL: 74GP : 4G : 7A : 11Pts

2002 – No First Round Pick

2003 – No First Round Pick

2004 – (30th Overall) Andy Rogers : Defense
Not much to say about this big-sized blueliner drafted from the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.  In 2009 he (along with Olaf Kolzig, Jamie Heward, and a 4th round pick) was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Richard Petiot.  Rogers would never make it to the NHL and last played professionally for the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings in 2009-10.

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

2005 – (30th Overall) Vladimir Mihalik : Defense
An ogre of a defensman (6’7″, 240lbs) Mihalik was drafted from the WHL.  He would bounce back and forth between the Norfolk Admirals and Tampa Bay over four seasons.  After spending 2010-11 with the Admirals he would sign with Swedish Elitserien team, Timra IK.

Stats while with TBL: 15GP : 0G : 3A : 3Pts

2006 – (15th Overall) Riku Helenius : Goaltender
After winning the silver medal with the Finnish U18 Men’s Team in 2006 Tampa Bay took the chance in drafting him.  From 2006 to 2008 he would play in the SM-liiga, WHL, ECHL and AHL before making his first appearance with the Lightning during the 2008-09 season.  In this appearance he would only play for seven minutes making two saves on two shots.  He would then be sent back down to the ECHL and would never return to the Show.  Recently there has been rumors regarding Tampa Bay’s interest in bringing him back.

Stats while with TBL: 1GP : 7Min : 0GA : 2S : 1.000SV%

2007 – No First Round Pick

Continue to check Bolts By The Bay for the final installment and for the review of the picks one through six click here.

– Jim Courteau

Follow me on Twitter @BlackSheepJim