Tampa Bay Lightning: 50 Greatest Moments In Franchise History

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Jan 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier (40) against the Boston Bruins during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

37. Tampa Bay Lightning Trade For Top Pick Of 1998 NHL Draft

Date: June 1998

As most Tampa Bay Lightning and NHL fans know, forward Vincent Lecavalier was drafted with the first overall selection of the 1998 NHL draft. However, if you ask those same fans how the team got the draft pick, they would not be able to tell you that the team actually traded for the top pick in the draft that year even though the previous season the Lightning finished with the worst record in the entire league.

The trade was a clever one made by the team. Knowing they would finish with the worst record in the league by a wide margin, the only thing standing between them and the number one selection in that year’s draft was the draft lottery. The San Jose Sharks owned the Florida Panthers first round draft selection, and the Panthers ended up with the number one selection in the draft.

However, the Lightning agreed to send Bryan Marchment, David Shaw, and their conditional 1st round pick in exchange for Andrei Nazarov and the Sharks conditional 1st round draft pick. This caused the Lightning to jump to the top overall selection in the draft and select Lecavalier while the Sharks moved down to number two (later trading the pick to the Nashville Predators).

If they did not hit on that pick, who knows, Art Williams may not have bought the team. The team may not have a Stanley Cup either. However, that is not the case and the 1998 NHL draft trade to get Vinny Lecavalier turned out to be one of the best trades in team history.

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