Grading the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2023 NHL Draft

Jun 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; The draft board after round one of the 2023 NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; The draft board after round one of the 2023 NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

With five selections made by Tampa Bay in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Lightning locked in two wings, two centers, and a defenseman.

Here is a grade of how they did overall with a brief breakdown of each player they selected.

Rd. 2, Pick 5:  Ethan Gauthier, RW, Sherbrooke

Gauthier was the pick made Lightning at 37th overall. In two seasons with Sherbrooke, he recorded 48 goals and 61 assists. This was over the course of a 61 game season.

Gauthier is a witty and patient player with the puck and he combines that with elite stick handling that creates a potent offensive game. He skates across the ice almost in a “Brayden Point” type of way that is hard to stop.

He will need time to develop to the NHL level since he is only 18-years-old, but the development of some speed with the skates will turn him into a great professional in the future.

Rd. 4, Pick 19: Jayson Shaugabay, RW, Warroad

Shaugabay was picked by the Bolts a good amount of time after Gauthier at 115th overall. He became the all-time points leader for his high school (Warroad) this past season.

He has a great looking wrist shot that is very technically sound and extremely accurate towards the net. He is a big time scorer and can set himself up for shots a lot like the current Tampa Bay player Nikita Kucherov.

The high lump sum of soaring opportunities will make him a great development project within the Lightning’s system. If he develops more of a nose for the front of the net, the Lightning may have another great find in the fourth round.

Rd. 6, Pick 19: Warren Clark, D, Steinbach

Currently committed to play college hockey at St. Cloud State University, Clark came off a season in which he had 32 assists in 55 games in the MJHL. Those are relatively decent passing numbers for a player on the defensive end of the ice.

At 6 feet tall and 195 pounds, he is right around the league average of 6-foot-2-inches and 202 pounds for defenseman. Clark may need time in college and in minor league play to ready himself for the aggressiveness in NHL hockey.

Rd. 7, Pick 1: Jack Harvey, C, Chicago

Harvey is a sneaky late round pick for Tampa Bay. Last season in the USHL, he finished with 74 points (40 goals and 34 assists). He also had four points (two goals and two assists) in six games during last years playoffs.

His high volume in points he gets can lead him to be a canter piece to any team’s chemistry in the future. With some development, this could turn into a sneakily good pick for the Lightning.

Rd. 7, Pick 19: Ethan Hay, C, Flint

Hay was the last of the Bolts’ five picks. He is a larger center out of the OHL who put up 17 goals and 11 assists with his limited role in Flint.

At 6 feet and 1 inch tall and 195 pounds, Hay is aggressive in multiple aspects of the game including face-offs and on the defensive side of the center spot. He has the ability to show how much of an anchor he can be with some more time in junior hockey.

Grade and Draft Summary

Tampa Bay had limited options with what they could do with this draft. However, with the small amount of picks they had, they did a decent job giving themselves some intriguing guys that can spend some time developing themselves to fit the professional, NHL style of play.

By no means was this a stand out draft that was jaw-dropping. But, the Tampa Bay Lightning did what they could to salvage it and it was very well done considering the picks they had.

2023 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Draft Grade: B-

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