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Tampa Bay Draft Recap


Tampa entered the 2019 EHE entry draft with 8 picks overall, not including a 1st round pick.  The hope for a draft like this (without a 1st) is to find at least a couple players that can contribute at the Pro level.  


With the teams first pick, 55th overall, GM Hill and his scouts decided to take a player that had been through the draft a couple times already in Joel Teasdale.  Signed this past season to the Montreal Canadians in the NHL as an undrafted free agent, some may think it was a stretch to draft him in the 2nd round. “He won’t blow you away with his skating but he is a hard nosed goal scorer that loves to play his game around the crease”, said Hill.  He is recently won the MVP of the Memorial Cup on his way to winning the tournament with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. WIth Teasdale being a little older than most players drafted, in theory, he is that much closer to contributing either on the Pro team, but most likely in the minors with the Syracuse Crunch.


With their second, 2nd round pick, Tampa Bay again went with an overagger, Mattias Norlinder at 61st overall.  A smooth skating defenseman from Sweden, playing in the hockey factory known as Modo. He is what you call a transition defenseman, the type that thrive in the NHL today.  “We see him as a future top 4, puck mover, while playing at least on the second wave of the powerplay”. He has a great first pass, can skate like the wind, and skates well enough to make up for some of his defensive mistakes.  


Next, The Lightning selected forward, Adam Beckman out of Spokane in the WHL, 80th overall.  While being over 6 feet tall, he only weighs 168lbs so he will need to put on some wait to play his game as a professional.  He is a skilled puck handler, equally good at dishing a highlight reel pass to a teamate or scoring a goal with a nice shot or from in tight with his smooth hands.  Beckman will head back to Spokane and will hope to improve on his 62 points in 68 games.


Also in the 3rd round, 86th overall, Tampa selected Max Cajkovic.  Max is a stocky Slovakian that came over to play in the QMJHL with Saint John.  Max came into his first season with a lot of hype following successful international tournaments with the under 18 team but it took him awhile to take charge and bring his game to its highest level.  “We believe that if he played as well as he did in the second have, the whole season, he could have challenged for a back end 1st round pick”. “ The skill is there, he just needs to bring the consistent effort needed to become a game breaker”.  With the rebuilding Saint John team, the hope is that this year he will have more support to expand on his 46 points in 60 games.


In the 4th round, the team selected American center, John Farinacci 100th overall.  The average sized pivot scored at a 2 points a game pace in the USHS division with Dexter HS.  The Harvard commit was named captain for the US at the summer Hlinka-Gretzky tournament while scoring at a point per game clip.  College hockey is the right course for John, it will give him 2-3 good years of development, physically and mentally.


Staying in the 4th round, at pick 118, Russian center Egor Spiridonov was the next player selected by The Lightning.  A little different then most Russian players, Egor brings a little tenacity and physicality, along with above average skill.  “The exciting thing about him is that he is a big center, with skill, and the competitiveness which is what we, as a team value in our organization.”  The plan for Egor is still stay in his native Russia for a couple years, hopefully get some time in the KHL, and then come over after he has played against men and is ready to make the jump to the North American game,


With the first of two 5th round picks, Tampa picked forward, Brett Stapley 130th overall.  Originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 NHL entry draft my Montreal, Stapely arrived at Denver University in the NCAA without much of any fan fair.  But he quickly took over a top 6 center role and was productive in his Freshman season with 19 points in 32 games. Stapely has shown flashes of high end skill and very impressive passing skills.  A jump to a point per game this year should not be out of reach. Stapely will be a long term prospect and won’t be ready to contribute for a couple years at least.


With the final pick in the draft, Canadian forward, Luca Burzan was the next and final player to have the privilege to pull a Tampa Bay LIghtning sweater over his head on this day.  Currently at Team Canada’s summer showcase for the upcoming U20 WJC, Luca is a 40 goal scorer for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. He is a thick kid, that has skill and plays the game within the rules, taking a combined 48 penalty minutes in 3 full seasons in junior hockey.  


In conclusion, this draft class doesn’t have the star power, or the big names that scouts and teams have been talking about for the past 6 months, but it has potential, each and everyone of the players selected have an interesting skill, or attribute that will hopefully help them make it to the show sooner than later.

Greg Forget

I had Max Cajkovic on my list... I think he's very talented and he could end up making us look foolish for letting him fall tot he end of the 3rd round.

Tampa Bay Draft Recap
8 picks made in total!

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