The 2014 NHL draft has come and gone so it’s time to grade the picks that Steve Yzerman made for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The hardest part about the NHL draft is that the vast majority of the players won’t be in the NHL for a number of seasons, thus making it harder to grade how good of a job Yzerman did.
Yzerman swung a number of trades to move up and down in the draft to get the guys he wanted. By doing so, he also has 12 2015 draft picks at his disposal.
The Lightning drafted defenseman Anthony DeAngelo with the 19th overall pick and they continued to stock up on d-men through rounds 2-4 by selecting Dominik Masin, Jonathan MacLeod and Ben Thomas. They also drafted Brayden Point, a highly skilled forward from the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Over the final three rounds the Bolts added a bit of depth up front by taking Cristiano DiGiacinto and Cameron Darcy.
Looking at defense first, the Bolts have set themselves up nicely for the future.
DeAngelo has had some character issues but there’s no denying his on-ice talent. He’s a highly skilled offensive defenseman who puts points up for fun. He also happens to be pretty solid in his own end. If he can mature he’s going to be a vital member of the Lightning’s defensive corps for years to come.
Masin is also poised to be successful and the Czech native is coming to North America as he was drafted by the Peterborough Petes of the OHL in the 2014 CHL Import Draft. The next logical step in his career was to come to North America and in Peterborough he’s joining a very good organization.
Thomas has played the last two seasons in the WHL but will be back with the Calgary Hitmen this upcoming season. MacLeod is scheduled to attend Boston College this fall so he should progress nicely in four years of NCAA hockey.
On to the forwards, and the hype surrounding Point continues to grow.
TB select Brayden Point. Not insane to think he ends up the best player from their draft class.
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 28, 2014
Although undersized, Point has been an elite point producer in the WHL with Moose Jaw. He’s highly skilled and is a very positive and impactful guy.
In DiGiacinto, the Lightning get a rugged, big-bodied forward. He also has problems staying out of trouble on the ice as he was suspended twice last season. However, the Lightning need some physical players to chip away on the 3rd and 4th lines to compliment the speedy and skilled forwards and DiGiacinto fits that bill.
In Darcy, the Lightning get Cape Breton’s leading point producer from last season which is incredible to do in the 7th round of the draft. He’s an over-ager though so there’s a good chance he could play pro next season with either Florida or Syracuse.
It’s hard to determine how good a draft class is when we won’t see them in the NHL for at least a couple of years. However, Yzerman drafted for need, adding depth on defense, finding a physical forward, and adding more scoring up front. It’s also worth nothing that every player Yzerman drafted has played either CHL/university hockey or will be this upcoming season, which is undoubtedly the best place for prospects to improve their game.