The Tampa Bay Lightning were willing to go into the 2014 NHL Draft prepared to make a big move and better their team. Many thought that they would make the trade “big” by trading a roster player such as Teddy Purcell or Brett Connolly in their first big trade (that may still be the case but as of now it hasn’t happened yet) however, GM Steve Yzerman did make a big move. He was able to turn the 2014 second (50th round pick (50th) into a haul as he traded it to the Vancouver Canucks.
What made this a haul was Yzerman got defenseman Jason Garrison, a big defenseman who shoots left but plays on the right side, along with Jeff Costello who is unsigned so far and a seventh round pick in the 2015 draft.
Obviously, Garrison is the centerpiece of this deal as a potential pairing partner for Lightning star defenseman Victor Hedman and someone who can help on the power play. He accumulated 33 points, with seven of those being goals, last season and is quite comfortable playing on the right side of the ice. It’s important to note that he was successful offensively while playing a John Torterella system that doesn’t encourage offense as much as one would think.
There had been some speculation that Yzerman would make a move for Garrison as a potential piece instead of trying to outbid someone for Matt Niskanen’s services. Overall, Garrison had to waive his no-move clause to go to Tampa and has the potential to be a real good fit in coach Jon Cooper’s system.
The other caveats of this deal are Jeff Costello, who will more than likely help shore up the farm system. Costello is currently at Notre Dame and if signed can be a force in the Lightning system. His last year, he had 13 goals in 40 games played. According to his scouting report, he is a player who can dig the puck out of the corners and also take hits as well as receive them. He is considered a very good two-way player who will do what the coach asks of him.
Now on to the final part of the deal—the seventh round pick in 2015. This pick is probably just as important as the two position players for a few reasons. The first being, the 2015 draft is considered to be a lot deeper in terms of talent as it is also featuring Connor McDavid as the showcase piece. What that means is Director of Scouting Al Murray can find that diamond in the rough like an Ondrej Palat in the seventh round next year. The other part of this not only did Yzerman get Garrison and Costello but also another pick that he can draft a player with or use as a potential trade.
A very good start to the 2014 NHL draft for Yzerman and the Lightning and this deal also means that it is becoming increasingly clear that the Lightning will hold onto their two first round picks—at least for now.