30 in 30 Tampa Bay Lightning

Hayden Soboleski

2016-07-27

The Tampa Bay Lightning spent more time this offseason keeping current players on the roster than they did bringing new ones in. The biggest re-signing being Steven Stamkos eight-year extension. Add Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn to that list and the 2016-2017 Tampa Bay Lightning look a lot similar to the 2015-2016 Tampa Bay Lightning.

 

Draft Recap

 

The Lightning had an abundance of picks coming into the 2016 NHL Draft giving them plenty of options. They could have packaged some draft picks in a trade or use all of their selections. They chose to make one trade on day two of the draft, trading Anthony DeAngelo to move up in the second round (37th selection). With their ten picks, the Lightning added skill, strength and two-way play to their already superior prospect pool.

 

1st Round (27th overall) – Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

 

The Lightning have had past success in drafting from the Moose Jaw Warriors. One of their top prospects in Brayden Point has been a teammate of Howden for the past two years. Howden is an all-around prospect with the size to succeed in the professional game. His offensive decision making and shot are some of his best attributes making him a threat on the attack. Howden can also be an asset in his own zone as well.

 

Howden hasn’t scored at an elite pace while in junior, but that does not mean he lacks an offensive upside. His 24 goals and 40 assists last year were under a point per game, having played 68 games, but his playmaking ability was adequate and should overshadow the lack of production.

 

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2nd Round (37th overall) – Libor Hajek, D, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

 

High expectations are already set for Libor Hajek as the pick the Lightning used to select the defensive defenseman was acquired for former top prospect Anthony DeAngelo. Hajek is nothing like Anthony DeAngelo. He uses strength and a defensive mind rather than a point producing two-way defender. Hajek can be used in a future shutdown roll, but will need to improve his decision making, especially when the game is on the line.

 

Hajek will most likely be returning to a poor Saskatoon team which will give him the opportunity to find his game defensively and limit the poor decisions he makes in his own zone.

 

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2nd Round (44th overall) – Boris Katchouk, LW, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

 

A skilled forward with some gifted hands, Boris Katchouk was a very nice selection at 44th overall for the Tampa Bay Lightning. His puck handling skills and shot are his best contributions with his skating ability being a tad undervalued. Katchouk will need to spend time becoming effective in his own zone and on the physical side, but he could become a very promising professional player in the years to come.

 

Boris had a very good year with the Greyhounds, scoring 24 goals and 27 assists while playing in 63 games in his draft season.

 

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2nd Round (58th overall) – Taylor Raddysh, RW, Erie Otters (OHL)

 

The Lightning finished their second round selections with a great pick in Taylor Raddysh. Raddysh is a power forward with a heavy shot that does not get utilized as much as it should. Raddysh already has decent size at 6’1” and 203 lbs, and isn’t one to shy away from physical play. His commitment to the forecheck is another great attribute to his game.

 

Raddysh could fit into a bottom six role, professionally, sooner rather than later. His defensive zone I.Q is subpar, but what he brings to the table physically, and offensively cannot be ignored. Neither can the 73 points he had this past season with a great Erie Otters team.

 

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3rd Round (88th overall) –  Connor Ingram, G, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

 

Continuing with a CHL-heavy draft, the Lightning selected overage goalie Connor Ingram in the third round who had previously been with the Detroit Red Wings organization on tryout basis in 2015. Ingram is a smaller goaltender that relies on his agility and movement in the crease rather than just putting a large body in front of the goal. Ingram has room to improve but adding mass and increasing his frame could improve his game tremendously.

 

Ingram had a very good year in Kamloops this past season and only got better as the year ended. His .938 save percentage in the playoffs his was very impressive for a 7-game stint.

 

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4th Round (118th overall) – Ross Colton, C, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)

 

Ross Colton, another overager, had gone unnoticed in the USHL the past year until the USHL Top Prospects Game where Colton shined due to his offensive zone poise and shot. His ability to set up a cycle and instinct to know where to be at the right time were some of the many traits that allowed him to be taken in 2016 instead of going unnoticed again.

Colton had a dominant season with the RoughRiders in 2015-2016. His 35 goals and 31 assists in 55 games show just how effective of a player Colton can be.

 

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5th Round (148th overall) – Christopher Paquette, C, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

 

Cousin of former Tampa Bay draftee Cedric Paquette, Christopher is a defensive minded, physical forward. His offensive talents are hardly that, but he is a key asset to have while in the defensive zone. Paquette will bring toughness and dedication to any team that he plays for.

 

Paquette will need time to improve and work on his shot and other offensive necessities before he can think about continuing his career into the professional level.

 

6th Round (178th overall) – Oleg Sosunov, D, Loko-Yunior Yaroslav (MHL)

 

Oleg Sosunov is a giant standing at 6’8” and 230 lbs according to Central Scouting. Sosunov carries a heavy shot and can lay a heavy hit which puts him as a powerful two-way defensive man that could improve in the offensive zone. Having a big shot like this will lead to offense but improved decision making and passing in the offensive zone could lead to a future in professional hockey.

 

His play in the defensive zone is already poised and mature. Sosunov carries a steady stick and is able to get himself between the puck and the opposing player quickly and efficiently.

 

7th Round (206th overall) – Otto Somppi, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

 

Many say that Otto Somppi had a disappointing season offensively in his draft year for Halifax, but Somppi still has a high ceiling, making him a great low risk high reward prospect. His hands are some of the best in the 2016 draft class and his skating ability is smooth. Somppi can make crisp tape-to-tape passes with ease and can do so under pressure. His transition game is great allowing his team to breakout and get scoring chances.

 

Somppi will definitely need to put on mass and improve his possession game. At times he gets pushed off the puck way too easily and can be forced into doing things; however, the potential is there for him to succeed.

 

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7th Round (208th overall) – Ryan Lohin, C, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

 

Ryan Lohin is another overager the Lightning took in the 2016 NHL Draft. He is a two-way center with a good understanding of the game in all three zones. He will be attending UMass-Lowell this upcoming fall.

 

He will be able to build size and power his is game at the NCAA level. This will allow for a better first step, more acceleration and the ability to block defenders from getting the puck from him.

 

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Development Camp

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning have one of the better prospect pools in the NHL which makes for an exciting development camp. The fast paced, skilled and fun competition amongst future teammates is always entertaining when the prospects involved are smart and fast.

 

The Lightning were one of the first teams to hold their development camp, putting it right in the middle of free agency from June 28th to July 2nd.

 

Fans all had their eyes set on the newest Lightning prospect, 2016 first rounder Brett Howden. Coming off of a good year with fellow Lightning prospect Brayden Point on the Moose Jaw Warriors, it was going to be interesting to see if the two still had chemistry, which the obviously do.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/B_Howdy21">@B_Howdy21</a> with a goal for Team Stamkos ???? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BoltsDevCamp?src=hash">#BoltsDevCamp</a> <a href="https://t.co/vfaqjJK5HD">pic.twitter.com/vfaqjJK5HD</a></p>&mdash; ⚡️Cheryl Hagan⚡️ (@tiggrmommi) <a href="https://twitter.com/tiggrmommi/status/749628540061097985">July 3, 2016</a></blockquote>
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However, during development camp it is the players that one doesn’t expect to catch their eye that really impress. Saint John Sea Dogs duo Bokondji Imama and Mathieu Joseph, who were drafted in 2015, displayed their playmaking ability throughout camp.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Boko Imama paced all players with 8 goals in 7 games. Imama and Mathieu Joseph each had 10 points to lead all scorers. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBLightning?src=hash">#TBLightning</a></p>&mdash; Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/BBurnsNHL/status/749295309134716929">July 2, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Ross Colton showcased his shot throughout camp but especially during the three-on-three tournament.

 

Otto Somppi let everyone know that he has loads of potential by making strong offensive plays.

 

Mitchell Stephens has made a lot of progress after suffering a foot injury. Has strength on the puck and can make quick adjustments when skating without experiencing any problems.

 

With Anthony DeAngelo gone after the trade with the Coyotes, Libor Hajek stepped up as the best defenseman at camp. Strong defensive instincts with a hint of offensive was his role during the scrimmage and tournament.

 

With training camp slowly approaching, some prospects have a chance to make the Lightning out of camp. Players like Brayden Point who have graduated from the junior level will most likely be seeing NHL action this year.

 
***
Max Marco

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