Tampa Bay Lightning
Name: Saku Salminen
Weight: 187 lbs
Club: K-Vantaa (FIN2)
The Lightning take a project in big centerman Saku Salminen out of Finland.
Big frame that Salminen is willing to use. Already has experience against grown men for Jokerit in the top league and Vantaa in Finland's second tier league. Defensively responsible and solid on the penalty kill.
Average skater. Hasn't made a dent for Finland in numerous international appearances in junior tournaments. Lacks much offensive skill.
Longshot checking liner
Name: Henri Ikonen
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 198 lbs
Club: Kingston (OHL)
Tampa Bay makes another overage prospect selection in the form of 19 year old Finnish winger Henri Ikonen, who played for Kingston in the OHL last season.
Hard working winger is a decent skater with above average skill. Solid compete level and proved he could score in Canadian juniors posting 22 goals and 51 points in 61 games with the Frontenacs, which led them in scoring. He's also fairly competent in the defensive third, as well.
Average NHL size, and doesn't blow you away with his speed or skill level. Likely returning to the Finnish SM-liiga next season.
Checking line depth winger
A poor man's Sean Bergenheim
Name: Kristers Gudlevskis
Weight: 189 lbs
Club: Riga (RUS)
The Lightning go with an overage, 20 year old goaltender out of Latvia. Is it a move to address goaltending in Syracuse next season?
Good size is always at a premium between the pipes, and Gudlevskis is aggressive positionally at cutting down angles and hard to beat in close. Gudlevskis also already has a lot on international experience for Latvia at the tender age of 20 with appearances in the U18, U20, and Men's World Championships for his country.
Prone to allow the occasional soft goal and can be beaten from distance. Playing in the Russian league is not the ideal developmental situation for young goaltenders, so getting him into the AHL is important.
Name: Adam Erne
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 210 lbs
Club: Quebec (QMJHL)
Tampa Bay again foregoes need to select the best player available, Adam Erne, who was rated in the top 15 prospects by both Red Line Report and THN.
Power forward plays a pro-style north-south game. Excellent outside burst and has the strength to bull his way to the front of the net. When he gets there, he has a hard shot to go with soft hands and ability to finish off goals in tight. Can play a chippy game and isn't afraid to mix it up.
Conditioning and maturity off the ice. He's clearly got a bit of baby fat he needs to lose and he needs to learn to train like a professional. If he gets his cardiovascular level to where his strength level is, he could be NHL-ready.
Second line scoring winger, or checking liner depending on if he gets his training habits right.
Patrick Marleau... or Steve Bernier
Name: Jonathan Drouin
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 186 lbs
Club: Halifax (QMJHL)
Tampa Bay elects to forego selecting perhaps the best need pick in favor of the player who might be the best prospect in this draft in slick winger Jonathan Drouin out of Halifax. Drouin starred on a line with top overall pick Nathan MacKinnon as Halifax swarmed to QMJHL and Memorial Cup titles.
Drouin mixes some of the best hockey sense and passing ability to be seen in the draft in quite some time with world class stickhandling ability and lateral quickness and skating. He truly appears to have the puck tied to the blade of his stick with a string. Add to that a solid shot and you have a player who is equally adept at shooting, passing, or making you look foolish by carrying it past you in the offensive third. As an added intangible, Drouin might also be one of the fiercest competitors in the draft, and while he may not be a bone cruncher he will go to the high traffic areas to make plays.
Drouin is not the ideal NHL size and he doesn't have a top level gear in terms of straight line speed. Those knocks should be tempered by saying he does have excellent lower body strength and really just needs to get his upper body strength to the same point, and his straight line speed may be compensated for by his lateral agility and advanced ability to read the play. Also, like many young forwards, he needs to continue to work on his play in the defensive third.
Top Line Left Winger and Top-20 NHL Scorer
Names That Have Been Floated: Patrick Kane, Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis, Denis Savard, Gilbert Perrault