Lightning Draft 2002: Day Two, Goertzen’s Dirty Dozen

By Pete Choquette

4th Round

(100) Dimitry Kazionov, 6’3” 185 lbs., Dynamo2(RUS2), 11GP 1G 1A 2P

The days of the Russian project winger have not died. Yuri Yanchenkov made sure of that when the Lightning selected Dimitry Kazionov in the 4th round. A stalwart at wing for the Russian national team in tournament play over the past couple of seasons, Kazionov has bounced around from club to club in the Russian leagues. This past season, the majority of his games were played in the Russian Upper League with the Moscow Dynamo’s team but he has since moved on to Lada Togliatta of the Russian Superleague, where hopefully he can find playing time in the top division Russia has to offer. Kazionov is a good skater who is a very responsible two-way winger with a decent shot that he has rarely gotten the opportunity to exhibit in club play. However, the native of Moscow lacks the stickhandling flair of most Russian prospects and fails to use his strong 6’3” frame to his advantage in the physical game. The Lightning will hope with time and maturation Kazionov can sharpen his game enough to make the leap to North America.

5th Round

(135) G Joseph Pearce, 6’5” 215 lbs., Manchester(EJHL), 25GP 2.16GAA .933sv%

Hard work and dedication have paid off as Pearce, who was passed over in the last draft, finally found an NHL team to call his own. Rated 15th amongst North American goalies by the CSB, Pearce showed good quickness for a young man his size and a fiery work ethic in backstopping the Manchester Monarchs to the EJHL championship, with a .938sv% and 1.82GAA in the playoffs, and grabbing league MVP honors in the process. The native of Brick, New Jersey partly patterns his game after current Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. Sharing a birthday with yours truly, Pearce will turn 20 within this week and will divert his attention to the next big challenge: Four years at Boston College where he will battle with senior Tim Kelleher and sophomore Matti Kaltainen for playing time.

(162) D Girard Dicaire, 6’2” 190 lbs., Kootenay(WHL), 66GP 6G 46A 52P

After selecting Jeremy Van Hoof in the last draft, the Lightning take their second re-entry in as many years in taking former Sabres second round pick Gerard Dicaire. Dicaire, who has put up a solid 135 points in 200 career junior games, helped the Kootenay Ice capture the Memorial Cup after a midseason trade from Seattle. Dicaire is a good skater who possesses an above average point shot and is a very smart decision maker when making passes out of his own zone. The offensive defenseman, however, has yet to assert himself in the physical game over the course of his career. He finds himself in a potentially plum position in an organization devoid of a left-handed puck moving defenseman at any level. He will likely be signed and see time in the minors for the team this year, perhaps even assuming the spot of departed offensive defenseman prospect Josef Boumedienne in Springfield.

6th Round

(170) D PJ Atherton, 6’2” 193 lbs., Cedar Rapids(USHL), 54GP 7G 22A 29P

To many observers, Atherton was one of the best defensemen in the USHL this past season. A solid two-way defenseman, Atherton blends an edgy physical style with an above average amount of offensive ability. The right handed shooting defenseman was rated 114th amongst North American skaters by the CSB. The native of Edina, Minnesota will turn 20 in August and will soon begin his four years with the highly regarded University of Minnesota hockey program.

(174) C Karri Akkanen, 6’6” 202 lbs., Ilves jr(FINjr), 20GP 6G 7A 13P

One of the more applauded picks of the day, Akkanen was the specific target of the trade that sent a 4th rounder next season to Carolina for four lower round picks. Akkanen is a huge center who isn’t afraid to use his massive frame to crash and bang in all three zones. The Lightning, under the advisement of scout Karri Kettunen, believe that once Akkanen fills out his ample frame he could be an NHL caliber power forward.

(183) D Paul Ranger, 6’2” 198 lbs., Oshawa(OHL), 62GP 0G 9A 9P

Ranger was reasonably well rated by the CSB, earning the 39th rating amongst North American skaters, but slipped to the 6th round. A very good skater, boasting the 10th best 60 foot dash time at the CHL Top Prospects Skills Competition, he saw a broken wrist slow his progress in his first junior season and has yet to put up any kind of offensive numbers at the junior level. He plays a more positional game and doesn’t like to get as involved physically as he should. However, currently at the tender age of 17, he has plenty of time to develop his game, which has considerable upside considering his high level of skating and his 6’2” frame.

7th Round

(213) G Fredrik Norrena, 6’0” 190 lbs., TPS (FIN), 32GP 1.98GAA, .932sv%**

After patiently waiting for much of the draft, the Lightning quickly struck, moving Josef Boumedienne to Ottawa to get the 7th round pick they used to select what head scout Jake Goertzen called the most important pick of the day. A 28-year-old overage goaltender, Norrena has been one of the top players in the Finnish SM-Liga over the past three seasons with TPS, posting an impressive 51-25-9 record with a save percentage close to 93% over that span. Norrena had been slated to move to the Swedish Elite League for the 2002-2003 season, but looks enthusiastically on the opportunity to possibly make the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Norrena is a reflex goalie who is very aggressive in challenging shooters and has drawn comparisons to Jussi Markkanen of the Edmonton Oilers. Expect him to be brought to camp to battle with Kevin Hodson for the team’s backup goalie position next season.

8th Round

(233) G Vasily Koshechkin, 6’6” 210 lbs., Lada Togliatta2(RUS2), N/A

Ranked as high as a third rounder by the Lightning’s scouts, Koshechkin slipped beneath the radar of many NHL scouts due to the remoteness of where he plays. However, Yuri Yanchenkov has had his eye on the tallest goaltender in the Russian leagues for two years now, and the Lightning would’ve selected him last season had he submitted the proper paperwork to opt in to the 2001 draft. Koshechkin moves very well for a man his size, and moved up to the backup position for Lada’s Superleague level team last season, although he did not see any game action.

(255) C Ryan Craig, 6’2” 203 lbs., Brandon(WHL), 52GP 29G 35A 64P

Already 20-years-old, Craig captained the Brandon Wheat Kings deep into the WHL playoffs after attending a tryout camp for the San Jose Sharks the summer before. With 21 points in 19 playoff games, he proved he was a big game player and will now hope to take his package of high character and skill to the professional ranks. Craig can play in any game situation and is a solid leader who will likely be signed by the Lightning, with Pensacola of the ECHL being his initial destination.

(256) RW Darren Reid, 6’2” 185 lbs., Medicine Hat(WHL), 37GP 8G 9A 17P

A late bloomer, the 19-year-old Reid was called up to Medicine Hat from the bantam ranks and impressed enough for the Lightning to take a chance on him in the 8th round. Reid is a hard working hustle player who lacks ground breaking skill and speed but makes up for it with shear intensity. Rated 128 in North America by the CSB, Reid should return to Medicine Hat for one last junior season before potentially signing and finding placement within the Lightning minor league system.

9th Round

(286) W Alexei Gloukhov, 6’3” 176 lbs., Chimik2(RUS2), 33GP 7G 22A 29P

Rated 47th in Europe by the CSB, there is little question about Gloukhov’s skill set. A good skater with the same glossy puck skills fans have come to expect from Russian players, what Gloukhov seems to lack is the heart and intensity necessary to take his game up to the Superleague level. The Lightning will have to hope with patience and time, Gloukhov will mature enough to take the next step up in his career.

(287) C John Toffey, 6’3” 200 lbs., Ohio State(CCHA), 24GP 2G 3A 5P

Born into a family of athletes, with his father playing baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toffey was a three sport star in high school, quarterbacking his team to an undefeated season, while grabbing all-league honors, and also being drafted in baseball by the Colorado Rockies organization. The St. Sebastien’s alumnus saw little ice time as a freshman last year on an upperclassman laden team, but should see his role expand greatly over the next three years. Toffey is a solid all around player who displays above average skating ability and decent hands.