Draft

Bolt Prospects 2012 NHL Entry Draft Coverage: Goaltenders

Bolt Prospects' draft coverage begins with the goaltending position, which has been a perennial sore spot since the founding of the franchise. With the exception of short runs by Darren Puppa in the early days of the team and Nikolai Khabibulin leading up to the team's Stanley Cup run in 2003-2004, the Lightning have always seemed to face uncertainty between the pipes.

Bolt Prospects 2012 NHL Entry Draft Coverage: Introduction

With the Lightning prospect season finally completed, it is now time to turn our attention to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. While the team's prospect system enjoyed unprecedented success, the team's struggles at the NHL level last season left the Lightning with a draft pick bonanza after a bevy of pre-deadline deals. Heading into the draft, the Lightning currently holds a pair of first round picks, and at least one second round pick following the trade of picks 37 and 50 to Nashville in the Anders Lindback trade.

Lightning Will Pick 10th

The Edmonton Oilers have won the NHL Draft Lottery, earning them the right to move up one slot from second to first in the draft order. The Lightning's draft position is unchanged at the 10 pick.

In related news, Columbus fans are seething mad.

Lightning Draft Position Heading Into Draft Lottery

The Lightning will head into the draft lottery in the 10th position. The lottery drawing will be held on April 10th, with the results announced by the Deputy Commissioner on the NBC Sports Network at 8 pm.

The Lightning have a 2.1% chance of winning the lottery, which would enable them to move up 4 spots to the 6th spot in the draft. The Lightning also have a 3.9% chance of falling to the 11th pick. It's a 94% likelihood, however, that 10th is indeed where the team will find its draft pick heading into June.

The Lightning also hold Detroit's first round pick (pick 23, as of right now), Minnesota's second round pick (pick 37), their own second round pick (pick 40), Philadelphia's second round pick (pick 52, as of right now), and possibly Florida's second round pick (pick 55, as of right now), although the Panthers have the option to take the pick and give the Lightning their 2013 second round pick, and GM's rarely defer taking a pick in these situations. Playoff teams that advance to their respective conference finals are resituated in the bottom 4 picks of the draft, which is why the draft position of Detroit, Philadelphia, and Florida may yet change.

Several of these picks are likely to be packaged in a trade for a goaltender this offseason, but for those that are retained, BoltProspects' research has shown in the past that roughly 70% of NHLer's come from the top-60 picks of the draft. The Lightning's current organizational needs lean heavily towards defense, where Everett's Ryan Murphy, Red Deer's Matthew Dumba, and the USNTDP's Jacob Trouba headline a very deep crop of blueliners.

Nikita Kucherov: Pre-Draft Reviews

Nikita Kucherov
Position: Right Wing
Shoots/Catches: Left
Height: 5.11
Weight: 165
Born: 06/17/1993
Age: 18
Hometown: Maikop, RUS
Acquired: Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2 (#58) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: CSKA Moscow (KHL)
Projects As: Scoring liner
Rankings: CSS 17 (International skaters), TSN 56 (overall), THN 95 (overall), Red Line Report 90 (overall)

Stats:
CSKA Moscow (KHL): 8 GP, 0-2-2, 0 PIM, -3
Krasnaya Armiya (MHL): 41 GP, 27-31-58, 81 PIM
Russia (U18): 7 GP, 11-10-21 (Tournament record for points)

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