Tampa Bay Lightning: 30 Best Draft Picks In Franchise History

21 of 31

Nov 5, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

11. Ondrej Palat

Draft Year: 2011

Position: Left Wing

If ever there has been a tandem in Tampa Bay Lightning history that has shined like a diamond in the sky it has been the line known as the Triplets. In their performance last season, the Triplets were responsible for a little over a third of the Lightning’s total offense. One of the most underrated members of the Lightning’s most dangerous line is left wing Ondrej Palat.

The chemistry on the ice between Ondrej Palat and his partner-in-crime Tyler Johnson is uncanny and almost unrivaled by any team in the National Hockey League. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching these two play, you know all-too-well it’s almost as if these two can read each other’s minds on the ice.

Much like Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat was a member of the 2011 Norfolk Admirals team that captured the Calder Cup. During the regular season with the Admirals, Palat would score nine goals and 21 assists for a total of 30 points. In the post season, Palat would continue his success scoring four goals and five assists for a total of 9 points.

The next season, the Tampa Bay Lightning would move their affiliation in the American Hockey League to Syracuse. Palat and company would now be members of the Syracuse Crunch. Palat would spend a majority of the season with the Crunch, but Palat did play in 14 games with the Lightning’s main roster in his first season.

While his first season with on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s may have been a slow one, this is definitely not the case for his sophomore season. Many players in the NHL go through what is referred to as the “sophomore slump,” but it was anything but a slump. Palat would score 23 goals and 36 assists for a total of 59 points.

Pally’s performance in the 2013-14 season would be noticed not just by those of us here in the Bolts Nation, but the rest of the National Hockey League as well. Along with his partner-in-crime Tyler Johnson, Palat would be nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy, an awarded given to the National Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year. The award would eventually go to Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche.

In the 2014-15 season, Palat would score 16 goals and 47 assists for a total of 63 points. This was a career high for Palat in both assists and overall points.

It’s really hard to believe that a talent like Ondrej Palat could fall to the Seventh Round (208th overall) in the NHL Draft. Palat’s talents and skills have been a tremendous asset to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and at this particular point and time, we here at Bolts By The Bay can’t imagine a Lightning roster without him on it.

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