Tampa Bay Lightning general Manager Steve Yzerman didn’t draft any defensemen in the 2013 draft, passing over the likes of Seth Jones and going with Jonathan Drouin instead as his first overall draft. Many wondered why Yzerman passed up on Jones, who looked brilliant for Nashville this year but Yzerman seems to have a method to his madness. The Lightning base their draft choices off of the best player available.
“Well personally we got a lot of players that we really liked. I think overall we didn’t go out to address deficiency but like last year where it was forward after forward fell to us, this year defenseman after defenseman fell to us. We took in every case the best NHL player,” Director of Scouting Al Murray said.
This year, seems to be no different. After trading a 2015 second round draft pick to the Islanders for two second round picks this year, Yzerman selected his second player of the 2014 NHL Draft in Dominik Masin of the Czech Junior League and then Johnathan Macleod, a defenseman that the Lightning grabbed in the second round, who has a similar style of game to Masin.
Masin played in 28 games ( 1 G, 9 A) and led the Czech Republic u18 team to a silver medal in tournament in 2014 IIHF Worlds. He has participated in eight different tournaments. A player that seems to be “a meat and potatoes” who can block shots, carry the puck decently and make a huge play out of the zone. He is confident to go one-on-one with any winger very similar to Macleod.
“ Both [Mashin and Mcleod] of those guys are kind of similar. They are hard-nosed guys who both play hard. They make a good first pass. They take time and space away from opponents. They are smart players who are hard to play against and that’s the kind of team we want.” Murray said.
The Lightning also traded up for the 79th pick by giving up the 7th round pick from Vancouver Canucks to the Minnesota Wild and picked Brayden Point who from most reports seems to be a steal and someone who is a pure goal scorer.
“The first time we saw Brayden Point, we were watching Morgan Reilly of Moosejaw Warriors in the playoffs, Moosejaw called up this guy who was too young to play in the league and he was the best player on the ice for Moosejaw along with Reilly. He’s not the biggest player, fastest player but he is the best player of the game. At the junior level, he is the best player on the ice.” Murray stated enthusiastically.
There weren’t many players who were slam dunks as many of the players were lower slotting players such as a fourth, fifth, sixth defensemen or a third to fourth liner.The Lightning also selected Cristiano DiGiancinto, Ben Thomas and Cameron Darcy and the team is enthusiastic about all of the players selected and their current developmental homes.
The team feels solid about each of these players because they don’t do this with any lack of enthusiasm. If one scout isn’t excited about a player than that player isn’t on the team’s list. So if fans were wondering if there was a method to the madness there is.
“We are pretty pleased with how things went this weekend. There were 210 players and our guys’ instructions are if we take a player and someone isn’t excited about him then that player isn’t on our list.”