Tampa Bay Lightning: 50 Greatest Moments In Franchise History

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Dec 20, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Brad Richards (17) skates with the puck in the first period against the Calgary Flames at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

16. Tampa Bay Lightning Drafts Brad Richards

Date: June 1998

Not many times do you find a franchise player in the third round of the draft. The Tampa Bay Lightning had already struck gold after drafting Vincent Lecavalier with the number one overall pick, but finding another great player in Brad Richards just a couple of round later helped make this franchise what it is today.

Richards was drafted in the third round, 64th overall, by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, having recorded 82 assists and 115 points in his draft year. Richards was actually teammates with Lecavalier during Canadian Junior and was known for being a deadly playmaker. The organization decided that Richards needed some more time to get ready before making the leap to the NHL, but once he did, Richards became an impact player right away.

Richards never totaled less than 60 points during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, and was a key cog of the 2004 Stanley Cup winning team in which he won the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player of the postseason.

Brad Richards remains as one of the greatest players in Tampa Bay Lightning history, and that third round selection during the 1998 NHL Entry Draft helps make that class the best in team history.

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