The Tampa Bay Lightning, and even myself personally, are still taking some criticism from people over the trades made on draft day. I am still of the opinion that this criticism is way off the mark. With the dust still settling from the moves made in Boston last month, they again juggled their personel. They sent Niklas Sundstrom, acquired in the draft day trades, and a 3rd round pick also acquired in the same deal, to the San Jose Sharks for four players.
The players coming to the Lightning in the deal are Billy Houlder, Shawn Burr, Andrei Zyuzin, and Steven Guolla. Houlder and Burr, both formerly with Tampa Bay, will add some needed character, experience, and depth. Guolla and Zyuzin add two more talented young players to the rebuilding Lightning.
Since the draft on Saturday, I have seen and heard reactions from various people, their comments covering the entire spectrum. Some have said that the Lightning had the worst draft of all the teams and others have said that they had one of the best. Let me give you my views on why I think that they had one of the better drafts on Saturday.
Let’s start with the focal point of the entire controversy, the first round trades. Everybody who says that Tampa blew it, says so because they traded away the chance to draft Pavel Brendl. In fact is, if the trades had not come along, they would have drafted Brendl even if they had kept the first overall pick. They would not have taken a chance on Stefan, and the only other possibility would have been a move to acquire both Sedins. Brendl was on top of their list by far. When they heard that Vancouver had already made moves to get the twins, and they already knew that Atlanta wanted Stefan, they saw the opportunity to move down and still get their man. They made the trade to move down to fourth and got two third round picks for that. Then, the Rangers called, and they knew the Rangers really wanted Brendl. They ended up getting two players, Sundstrom and Cloutier, along with two picks next year, a first round and a third round for their #4 overall. So if you break down the trades it works out to essentially this….
Brendl, Stefan, and Sedin’s Oh My!!!!!!!
The Lightning are in their regular position of selecting number one overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. However this year the Bolts seem to have more options than usual. Because of the lack of a true can’t miss pick like Joe Thornton and Vinny Lecavalier, the Lightning have several different directions they can go.
Option 1: Patrik Stefan C Long Beach IHL (6’3” 205lbs) – maybe the best player in the draft after tearing up the IHL as a 17 year old. However, because of concussion and knee injuries and his below average skating ability, the Lightning are turned off to him. Not helping matters is that Stefan’s agent won’t allow his client to take a physical for the club. Without a passing physical the Lightning will likely pass on the talented forward.
Option 2: Daniel Sedin LW MoDo Sweden (6’1” 180lbs) – don’t look for the Lightning to take Daniel without working out a deal to select his equally talented twin brother, Henrik C Modo Sweden (6’3” 196lbs), around the fourth or fifth selection.
Option 3: Pavel Brendl RW Calgary Hitmen WHL (6’1” 195lbs) – Brendle would install some much needed goal scoring life into a team that is on a offensive respirator. The only drawbacks seem to be some minor injuries and his adequate but not blazing speed. But it is amazing how 73 goals in 68 games can overshadow those concerns.
Player: Xavier Delisle
Birthdate: May 24, 1977
Hometown: Sillery, Quebec
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 184 lbs
SEASON TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM
1993-94 Granby QMJHL 46 11 22 33 25
1994-95 Granby QMJHL 72 18 36 54 48
1995-96 Granby QMJHL 67 45 75 120 45
1996-97 Granby QMJHL 59 36 56 92 20
1997-98 Adirondack AHL 76 10 19 29 47
1998-99 Cleveland IHL 73 13 28 41 32
Xavier was Tampa Bay’s 6th round choice (157th overall) in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Xavier played for the Adirondack Red Wings in his rookie season and had 10 goals 19 assists for 29 points in 76 games. In Xavier junior career he played for Granby of the QMJHL and helped Granby to the memorial cup championship in 1996, and had 13 goals 27 assists for 40 points in 20 games and was named the QMJHL’s Second Team All-Star and the Memorial Cups All-Star Team in 1996. Xaviers best season in junior hockey came in the 1995-96 season when he scored 45 goals added 75 assists for 120 points.
UPCOMING IN THE IHL NOTEBOOK Read more»
Can Lightning Strike Twice?
It has not been a banner season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. For the second consecutive year, the Lightning will finish with the NHL’s worst record. They also are the league’s worst defensive team. They are now going on their third ownership in the last two years. They are the only team in the NHL whose general manager is also its coach. Things couldn’t look bleaker…or could they?
After finishing last overall in 1998, the Lightning took its first step towards respectability in drafting centre Vincent Lecavalier. The 6-4 rookie is obviously going through some growing pains with the league’s doormat. However, he is progressing nicely since the all-star break and looks every bit the franchise player he was selected to be. Similarly, Pavel Kubina just might be the best-looking rookie defenseman in the NHL this season. Furthermore, the trade deadline was a fruitful exercise for the Lightning this season, acquiring two young players with promise: defenseman Sergei Gusev and left winger Colin Forbes. In goal, after a few seasons of frustrating veterans Daren Puppa and Bill Ranford, the Bolts now have an interesting combination of Corey Schwab and newly-acquired Kevin Hodson.