With only four draft picks in their possession, Tampa Bay will tie a franchise low for players drafted in a given year. The previous mark, set in 2006, saw the Lightning draft four players.
With only four picks, this figures to be a low-key year for the Lightning. Luckily, for our convenience, most of their picks are slated happen late in the final two rounds. So, you could tune in late Day 2 and catch the 3 newest members of the Lightning organization get draft.
Tampa Bay Lightning’s owned draft picks:
- 2nd Round– 37 overall (via COL via MTL)
- 6th Round — 179 overall
- 7th Round — 193 overall (via ANA)
- 7th Round — 211 overall
Additional 2023 Draft links:
Even with the lack of draft capital, there are still storylines fans should be aware of.
The Tampa Bay Lightning answered questions regarding Restricted Free Agent, Ross Colton. The Lightning traded Colton to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for the 37th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The pick initially belonged to Montreal.
With the team having approximately $8,500,000 in remaining cap space, and six open roster spots, Colton seems to have priced himself out of staying as he can realistically ask for a contract value around $3.5 million AAV.
The Lightning retained some control over his future as he is a restricted free agent and faced a June 30 deadline to extend him a qualifying offer that would see his signing rights retained heading into free agency. However, with arbitration rights, there was little the Lightning could do to prevent Colton from fully cashing in for what might be the most lucrative contract of his career.
With the Lightning acquiring an additional 2023 draft picks in the Colton trade, their pending franchise record for least draft picks in a year will have to wait for another time.
College and European offer best development prospects
With the Lightning unlikely to draft any instant success stories in the late rounds, expect there to be a focus on college-bound and European based players that will not have their signing rights expire for at least the next four years — compared to the two years they would have to make a signing decision on CHL players.
This is common around the league, and the Lightning typically have followed the trend in recent years. Among the 10 players drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds the past three drafts, 8 are currently slated to play on a college or European team this upcoming season.
Additionally, within their selection of late draft picks, there is a decent chance a goalie will be selected. We know Vasilevskiy is not going anywhere, but drafting and developing goalies to become his backup continues. Currently in the system, Hugo Alnefelt is getting close after two seasons in Syracuse, but behind him Nick Malik is the only other goalie prospect. Given the shallow organizational depth, getting someone in who they can work with for the next 4-5 years feels like a good move to make now.