Summary of Lightning Picks
Here is a summary of today's eight selections in the 2005 Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning:
30. D Vladamir Mihalik, 6'7" 222 lbs, Presov (SVK-2)
Compared favorably to countryman Zdeno Chara. Mihalik was a surprise both in terms of where he was taken and with regard to the Lightning's depth on the blueline with prospects. Will play for Red Deer of the WHL next season.
73. LW Radek Smolenak, 6'2" 180 lbs, Kingston (OHL)
The Lightning went into this draft looking for snipers and Smolenak certainly fits the bill. Good frame with excellent skating ability and some of the best finishing ability in the draft. Needs to bulk up and work on his consistency.
89. C Chris Lawrence, 6'4" 199 lbs, Sault Ste Marie (OHL)
Has all the tools but some think he's a Tin Man with no heart. Will have to step up next season with Jeff Carter's departure.
92. RW Marek Bartanus, 6'3" 194 lbs, Kosice Jr (SVK)
Bartanus has a good sized frame and good skating ability to go along with an above average skill set. Some question his work ethic, others see him as a great forechecker and charge the net type guy. Will play for Owen Sound of the OHL next season at the behest of his father who is an agent.
133. C Blair Jones, 6'2" 193 lbs, Moose Jaw (WHL)
At one time considered a potential first rounder Jones fell due to perceived poor work habits. Was traded at midseason to Moose Jaw but finished the season with 28 goals. Has a lot of offensive tools despite skating that is considered somewhat average.
133. RW Stanislav Lascek, 6'0" 195 lbs, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
An overage player by a year the Slovakian born Lascek is in some ways the Mini-Me version of Vaclav Prospal. Struggling to overcome size and skating deficiencies but has outstanding vision and passing ability. Registered 72 assists for offensive juggernaut Chicoutimi, second in the QMJHL to only Sidney Crosby. Will probably play one more year of junior before heading to Springfield. Lascek's greatest asset: he's all heart.
163. RW Marek Kvapil, 5'11" 172 lbs, Saginaw (OHL)
Overage 20 year old will likely be signed and placed in Springfield immediately. Kvapil is a speedster with great skill who put up solid numbers on a terrible Saginaw team.
165. G Kevin Beech, 6'4" 188 lbs, Sudbury (OHL)
Fits the Lightning's M.O. of taking big goaltending prospects. Beech played well enough to earn a tandem role with Sharks prospect Patrick Ehelechner the second half of the season.
210. D John Wessbecker, 6'1" 180 lbs, Breck (USHS)
Mobile and physical blueliner with a sense for the game. Committed to the University of Massachussetts.