August 32-in-32 : Tampa Bay Lightning

Caleb Kerney

2022-08-26

This past off-season saw the Tampa Bay Lightning make it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third year in a row. The first two trips resulted in back to back Stanley Cups. For their third trip they had the worst luck possible; they ran into the force of nature that was the Colorado Avalanche.

This is the off season of shedding cap space, which Tampa achieved in a big way with the trade of likeable-hardworking veteran D-man Ryan McDonagh, which gave them another 6,750,000 to work with.

With a few other significant subtractions, and thus far, no significant additions it remains to be seen if Tampa can make another trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the 2022-2023 season.

The Draft

Round One, 31st Overall- Isaac Howard, LW

The best looking player at the draft, Isaac Howard was a top 15 talent who went 31st overall. I believe that is what the kids call a “steal”. 

Howard is always on the move. He consistently plays the game with pace and urgency. Constantly moving his feet and looking for open ice while obsessively calling for the puck. It never crosses over into only wanting the puck for himself, but you have to admire his confidence and moxie.

He has a fantastic shot that he is not afraid to use. He is able to find lanes and get his shots on the net. His near-elite stick handling aids his hunt for open ice as he maneuvers around the opposition.

Howard is a lock for the top 6 and should be on every fantasy GM’s radar come time for the rookie draft of your Dynasty league.

Round Three, 86th Overall- Lucas Edmonds, RW/LW

The first of two overagers that Tampa selected this year, Edmonds is a triple-overager who played for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL this year. 

He is a smart and crafty player who can get to the right place on the ice with ease and without drawing attention to himself. While his point totals were impressive this year it is important to remember that he is 21 years old playing against mostly 16 and 17 year olds, he SHOULD dominate. This also illustrates that the offence has been there and could be there in future if he can adapt to each step forward he takes in his playing career.

He is not amazing at any one thing but is solid at all things. He can safely project to be a middle six winger, or even top six if he can get more of a killer instinct around the net.

Round Five, 160th Overall- Nick Malik, G

Malik posted sublime numbers in the Liiga this year. In 34 games played he registered a 15-9-9 record with 1.97 GAA and a 922 save percentage to go along with four shutouts. It is also noteworthy to point out that Malik is yet another overager drafted by Tampa this year.

Malik is not a flashy goalie and moves very soundly. He struggles with stopping pucks just below his glove hand and will need to clean that up to find success in the AHL and NHL.

With a few years of development we are looking at an NHL Backup as his floor.

Round Six, 192nd Overall- Connor Kurth, C

Getting Isaac Howard was the first steal of the draft for the Lightning, picking up overager Connor Kurth was the second steal. Playing in the USHL last year and this year, he accumulated 40 goals and 48 assists in 66 total games played this past season.

The first thing that stands out about Kurth is his ability to use his body when taking faceoffs. His wide stance helps him balance until he leans into the opposing player, outmuscling them in the process. He already looks like he can win a ton once he gets to the NHL level.

Kurth has plenty of stick-skills to go around. He has no problem passing behind himself between the legs or swatting pucks out of m