Tampa Bay Lightning: 30 Best Draft Picks In Franchise History

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

28. Nikita Nesterov

Draft Year: 2011

Position: Defense

As most of you know by now, one of Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman’s strongest ability since taking over the reins of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been building an excellent developmental system that will easily breed the National Hockey League stars of tomorrow.

In 2011, Yzerman added another name to the Tampa Bay Lightning roster that would one day prove to be a rather valuable asset to the Lightning’s main roster. That young player would be Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov.

After the Tampa Bay Lightning traded defenseman Radko Gudas to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2014-15 season, the Lightning found themselves missing a solid goaltender who could really lay down some hard hits. Before you bring up Victor Hedman, who can certainly lay down some monster hits, think to yourselves for a moment the resounding thud you would hear echo through the Amalie Arena after Gudas would make a hit.

After making his debut on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s main roster last season, Nesterov has done a good job of filling the hole left behind by Gudas’ departure. While he may not be an offensively minded defenseman like Victor Hedman, Nesterov certainly does a good job of laying down hits, blocking shots, and breaking up plays.

There is no denying there is a lot of work to be done before anyone will be able to compare Nikita Nesterov to defensemen like Victor Hedman or Anton Stralman, but it is plain to see the potential is there, and with the proper guidance, Nikita Nesterov could become the next defensive foundation for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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