In recent years the Tampa Bay Lightning have shown a willingness to select players from a variety of leagues. Their prospect pool consists of a group of talented Europeans, intriguing NCAA players, and – because most of their recent CHL selections have turned pro – just six players playing junior hockey.
Armed with one of the top prospect pools in all of the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning are starting to reap the rewards of good drafting, particularly in the mid-rounds. In the past few years they have added high-ceiling players like Jonathan Drouin and Andrey Vasilevskiy in the first round, whom have been complemented nicely with former mid-round selections like Ondrej Palat, Radko Gudas, and Alex Killorn.
The number of players drafted out of the KHL at the 2013 NHL Draft wasn’t large, but confirmations and surprises were there as always in each NHL Draft. The scarce number of players coming out of the top Russian league is due not only to the infamous “Russian Factor”, but also to the fact that many junior players are now playing in the CHL, something that wasn’t happening as often until recent years.
Hardly any mock drafts had Seth Jones (NAS) slipping past the second overall pick. But when the Florida Panthers chose Aleksander Barkov, it left Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman with an interesting choice to make – improve upon the organization's defensive prospects, or add another highly skilled forward to the mix.