31 in 31: Tampa Bay Lightning 2018 Draft Review and Development Camp Updates

Brayden Olafson


Draft Review:

Historically one of the most successful scouting and drafting departments in the league, The Al Murray led Tampa Bay Lightning group made 7 relatively mysterious selections from their draft table in Dallas this June. Despite a questionable draft outcome, however, the Lightning are currently in the process of developing one of the most well-rounded prospect pipelines in the league. From a dynamic forward group built on the fundamentals of Hockey IQ, strong skating and reliability, to a steadfast blueline that focuses on making the simple plays right and protecting their own zone first, the Lightning system is still top-notch. That’s not to discredit their situation behind Andrei Vasilevsky, in which the Syracuse Crunch have worked in co-operation with the organization to begin developing a potential long-term successor in Connor Ingram.

After being forced to wait until the late second round on Saturday morning to make their first selection, Murray kicked off the Lightning draft with a player that fits the mould of his past successes…


2|59 Gabriel Fortier, C, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL

One can only guess at how high Murray and his staff may have had Gabe Fortier ranked on their list. Despite the fact that he was selected higher than most draft analysts had projected him to be, Fortier seems to check most of the boxes that the Lightning have typically honed in on with their early selections. A technically solid and speedy skater with a hockey IQ that allows him to anticipate the flow of a game and react accordingly. He’s strong on both sides of the puck, and despite his 5’-10” (listed smaller by some resources) stature, is a branded competitor, making good on his fore-check and back-check each shift. An offensive breakout could be in Fortier’s future, but his current trajectory is similar to other Lightning prospects Alex Barre-Boulet (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada/Undrafted), and Otto Somppi (Halifax Mooseheads/206th overall in 2016).

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Al Murray, Tampa Bay’s director of amateur scouting on <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bolts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Bolts</a>’ top pick in 2018 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NHLDraft</a>, Gabriel Fortier: &quot;I’m not saying he’s Yanni Gourde. But he’s Yanni Gourde-like.&quot;</p>&mdash; Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BBurnsNHL/status/1010606535855300608?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 23, 2018</a></blockquote>{/source}


3|90 Dmitri Semykin, D, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg, MHL

This is kind of wh