C Tanner Richard, 6'0" 182 lbs, Guelph (OHL), Shoots: Left
CSS #41 North American Skater, Red Line Report #43 Overall
2011-2012 Statistics: 43 GP, 13-35-48, +4, 46 PIM
The Lightning get fantastic value in the third round with Swiss second year eligible Tanner Richard.
Pros: Good skater with great acceleration. Soft hands and a great puckhandler and playmaker. Competes hard at both ends of the rink and surprisingly willing to play the physical game, despite his slight frame.
Cons: Nagging injuries limited him to 45 games, and those injuries may be attributed to his lack of strength and size. Second year eligible so a little less time to develop than others in this class.
Red Line Report projected Richard as a versatile top 9 forward who chips in offensively and compared him to Valtteri Filppula.
RW Brian Hart, 6'2" 216 lbs, Exeter (USHS), Shoots: Right
CSS #54 North American Skater, ISS #64 Skater, RLR # 55 Overall, THN #56 Overall, TSN #46 Overall
2011-2012 Statistics: 29 GP, 32-36-68, 20 PIM
The Lightning continue to develop the Harvard pipeline with Crimson recruit Brian Hart out of the New Hampshire high school ranks. Like Alex Killorn before him, the Lightning end up with a prospect with good size and skill.
Pros: Great size and strength already. Heavy shot with a quick release. Soft hands around the net and good on deflections. Great natural athlete who is an accomplished soccer player, too.
Cons: First step acceleration. Could use his size more in the physical game.
Red Line Report projected Hart as a third line power forward who can chip in offensively. TSN's Craig Button compared him to ex-NHLer Bill Guerin.
D Dylan Blujus, 6'3" 193 lbs, Brampton (OHL), Shoots: Right
CSS #71 North American Skater, RLR # 79 Overall
2011-2012 Statistics: 66 GP, 7-27-34, +4, 38 PIM
The Lightning address the seemingly perennial need for a righty offensive defenseman by drafting Dylan Blujus out of Brampton.
Pros: Offensively gifted. Soft hands and a big shot on the power play. Reads and jumps into the play well. Above average skater who can play big minutes. Defends well off the rush.
Cons: Prone to turnovers when he has the puck in his own third. Struggles with positioning once the opposition gains entry to his zone. More of a leaner physically than a hitter.
Red Line Report projected Blujus as a #5/6 defenseman and compared him to, ironically, Kyle Quincey.
When and how do you judge a trade or draft pick?
Earlier this week I tweeted from Bolt Prospects that it was the 10-year anniversary of then Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster sending the fourth overall pick to Philadelphia for a young forward Tampa Bay thought had some upside and two second round picks. At the time, jaws hit the floor from Nanaimo to Naples. I was standing on the line that divided my living room from my dining room and saw the trade go across the ticker on what I believe was ESPN-2. Yes, I remember exactly where I was standing when I saw the news.
According to Red Line Report, here are the 15 best players that are still available heading into Day Two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft:
1. D Matt Finn, 6'0" 197 lbs, Guelph (OHL)(#14)
2. LW Pontus Aberg, 6'0" 198 lbs, Djurgardens (SWE)(#15)
3. RW Sebastien Collberg, 5'11" 176 lbs, Frolunda Jr. (SWE Jr.)(#24)
4. RW Scott Kosmachuk, 6'0" 182 lbs, Guelph (OHL)(#25)
5. D Damon Severson, 6'2" 198 lbs, Kelowna (WHL)(#30)
6. G Oscar Dansk, 6'2" 183 lbs, Brynas Jr. (SWE Jr.)(#31)
7. LW Phil Di Giuseppe, 6'1" 195 lbs, Michigan (CCHA)(#32)
8. LW Tim Bozon, 6'1" 178 lbs, Kamloops (WHL)(#33)