Despite being selected in the 11th round, 220th overall, of the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft by the Kelowna Rockets, Justin Courtnall has to this point retained his NCAA eligibility by playing the past two seasons in the BCHL. His rookie season in the BCHL came in 2006-2007 when after going scoreless for 5 games with the Victoria Grizzlies with 14 penalty minutes he was loaned to the Burnaby Express. In 48 games with the Express, Courtnall posted 5 goals and 14 points with 55 penalty minutes. At season's end Courtnall was rated the 181st best skating prospect in North America by the NHL Central Scouting Service and the Lightning selected him in the 7th Round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Just prior to draft day Courtnall was returned to Victoria, and as of yet there is no word of any college commitments for the young forward who is the son of former NHLer Geoff Courtnall.
Courtnall scored his first goal of the 2007-2008 season September 15 for Victoria against Powell River.
At present, because he has stayed in the BCHL to this point, it appears Courtnall is charting a course towards playing college hockey in the NHL. If that is indeed the road he chooses to take, it could be 5-6 years before the Lightning have to make a signing decision on the forward.