The NHL Entry Draft is way from a precise science. Making an attempt to undertaking how a participant will develop over the course of their profession is near not possible, as something from an damage to non-public points can derail a participant’s improvement.
Throughout his practically decade-long tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Steve Yzerman noticed a variety of success on the draft. Nevertheless, for each roster participant he pulled out of the third spherical, he additionally had a first-round choice that simply didn’t pan out.
Along with his time in Tampa coming to an finish, that is the right time to look again on a few of Yzerman’s worst draft picks with the Lightning.
No. 5: Brett Connolly
After Tampa struggled by the 2009-10 season, Yzerman took over a franchise possessing the sixth-overall decide. As his first choice with the Lightning, he wanted to hit the proverbial residence run as a way to showcase that the franchise was in good arms for the primary time in years.
With the decide, the Lightning chosen Brett Connolly, a high-talent ahead who was projected to be one of many high picks earlier than he suffered a hip damage that value him nearly all of his ultimate season in juniors. Regardless of this concern, Yzerman nonetheless took a swing on him.
Whereas he performed effectively for the Lightning at instances, Brett Connolly simply might by no means set up himself within the lineup. (picture by way of wikipedia)
Throughout his time with the Lightning, Connolly did not reside as much as his top-10 billing. He wasn’t essentially dangerous, however he simply couldn’t carve out his area of interest within the lineup. He was an ideal instance of a participant who was rushed to the NHL, hurting his total improvement.
It’s not all dangerous for the Lightning or Connolly, although. Tampa Bay traded him to the Boston Bruins for 2 second-round picks, a transfer that allowed them to amass Brayden Coburn. Connolly struggled in Boston earlier than occurring to win the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals.
So, whereas it didn’t work out in Tampa, each events managed to succeed in a constructive conclusion in the long run.
No. four: Johnathan MacLeod
Typically, there’s a participant that you simply simply fully neglect about. The group drafts him, and then you definately simply hear nothing about them over the following 5 years.
That was Jonathan Macleod for the Lightning. As a second-round choice, there was motive to consider that he might be competing for a roster spot after he completed his time with Boston College.
As an alternative, he struggled to ascertain a job whereas at school, inflicting him to finally fade into the again of the Lightning’s prospect pool. By the point he completed at Boston College, the Bolts determined it wasn’t price giving him a minor league contract.
So, to place it bluntly, Macleod was a bust for Tampa Bay.
No. three: Anthony DeAngelo
Coming into the 2014 draft, the Lightning knew that they’d two first-round picks in each 2014 and 2015 as a result of a profitable mid-season commerce with the New York Rangers.
Maybe as a result of this surplus of picks, Tampa Bay made a really un-Yzerman-like choice with their 19th total decide. They chose Anthony DeAngelo, a extremely gifted defenseman who had some questions on his character.
As stated by Sunaya Sapurji of Yahoo Sports activities:
Sarnia Sting defenceman, Anthony DeAngelo, hasn’t performed in two weeks… When the Ontario Hockey League introduced they’d suspended the native of Sewell, N.J., eight video games for violating the league’s harassment, abuse and variety coverage.
The decide was seen as an actual gamble on the time, as DeAngelo had the expertise to grow to be a top-four defenseman within the NHL, however slid down the draft board as a result of his character. Sadly, he didn’t mesh with the Lightning, getting scratched eight instances all through his first season within the AHL.
DeAngelo was finally traded to the Arizona Coyotes for a second spherical decide in 2016. The return was disappointing, particularly for a participant that appeared to be a future staple on the blueline.
Regardless of having the toolset to play within the NHL, DeAngelo wouldn’t discover constant taking part in time till he reached the New York Rangers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Oddly sufficient, each DeAngelo and the participant the Lightning chosen with that second-round decide, Libor Hajek, ended up being dealt to the Rangers. So, in a method, all of it got here full circle in the long run.
No. 2: Jonathan Drouin
When you have got a top-five decide in a draft, you have got the potential to pick out a franchise-altering expertise. On the 2013 draft, the Lightning discovered themselves with the third-overall choice in a category stuffed with really elite expertise.
After Nathan MacKinnon and Aleksander Barkov have been chosen as the highest two picks, the Lightning selected Jonathan Drouin over Seth Jones with the third decide. Whereas Drouin was, arguably, probably the most expert participant within the draft, the franchise had a transparent want for right-handed protection. As the highest defenseman on the draft, Jones might have been an ideal match for the franchise.
If Drouin had reached his full potential with Tampa Bay, then this resolution would have been a moot level, as 100-point forwards are laborious to come back by. Nevertheless, he struggled to ascertain himself with the Lightning, getting despatched again to juniors out of his first coaching camp.
Regardless of being one of many high skills on the draft, Jonathan Drouin was unable to ascertain himself as a very elite ahead with the Lightning. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports activities)
By 2016, Drouin requested a commerce from Tampa Bay, hoping to discover a franchise the place he might flourish. Yzerman finally traded him in the course of the 2017 offseason, bringing again a blue-chip defensive prospect in Mikhail Sergachev.
So, whereas the Lightning could have initially missed with Drouin, no less than they have been capable of flip him right into a high defensive prospect.
No. 1: Slater Koekkoek
Typically, a participant will at all times be judged based mostly on who was drafted round them. For Slater Koekkoek, the Lightning’s 10th total decide on the 2012 draft, his legacy shall be ceaselessly outlined by what might have been.
Attributable to a nagging shoulder damage, Koekkoek was seen as a little bit of a attain by the Lightning with the 10th choice, particularly given who was left on the draft board. As stated by THW:
Even on the time, the decide was seen as a letdown for the Lightning. By simply lacking out on Jacob Trouba, and passing over higher-ranked gamers like Cody Ceci, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Filip Forsberg, Yzerman seemed to be taking a considerably useless danger with a top-10 decide.
If Koekkoek had labored out with the Lightning, then this attain would have been effectively justified. As an alternative, he struggled with accidents earlier than lastly making his was to the NHL. When he was taking part in in Tampa Bay, he was poorly utilized, usually being a wholesome scratch.
As a top-10 choice, Slater Koekkoek was anticipated to grow to be a franchise face for the Lightning. Sadly, that by no means got here to be. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Whereas he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Jan Ruuta, Koekkoek’s time with the Lightning was a disappointment. Contemplating that the likes of Forsberg and Grigorenko have been chosen immediately after him, it’s not possible to not take into consideration what might have been.
Regardless of Misses, Lightning Discovered Draft Success
Even with these gamers not figuring out in the long run, the Lightning nonetheless discovered a variety of success on the draft below Yzerman.
Associated: Lightning: 5 Greatest Yzerman-Period Draft Picks
By discovering hidden expertise on draft day, they have been capable of alleviate a few of the ache of those first and second spherical picks that simply didn’t pan out. It’s removed from the very best case state of affairs, however given the failure of a few of these picks, it saved them from being franchise-defining errors.