The 2000 NHL Entry Draft holds several options for the up start Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning hold 15 picks in this years draft, including two picks in the top ten. The Bolts pick at numbers five and eight in the first round. These picks have led to a lot of speculation as to what GM Rick Dudley has planned. Dudley has acknowledged that several teams have called in interest of the picks, and Dudley has made no secret that he is willing to trade the picks for immediate help on the team. If Dudley were to trade the picks look for a goaltender, veteran defenseman, and/or scoring winger to come back in return.
In the later rounds look for the Lightning to stock up on wingers and goaltenders, but don’t be surprised if a few more defensemen are added to the already talented corp.
As the draft draws near, the question most asked about the Lightning’s draft is not who they’ll take in the first round, but if they’ll be picking at all. With the 5th and 8th overall picks and the need for immediate help, General Manager Rick Dudley should probably stock up on extra cell phone batteries. All indications show that he has already fielded numerous calls about trading one or both of the picks. He has said publicly that he will trade them if it will improve the team. He looks at draft picks very much as he does players. They are assets. Although every team needs to have a strong system, one cannot dismiss the fact that from time to time immediate help for a team outweighs the need to bolster their youth.
Former NAHL Most Valuable Defenseman Heads to Pros from Bowling Green
For Immediate Release – Thursday, April 6, 2000
The North American Hockey League has announced that former NAHL defenseman Mike Jones has signed a free-agent
contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
A 6-4, 195-pound native of Toledo, OH, Jones, 23, spent the past four seasons at Bowling Green State University of the
Central Collegiate Hockey Association. He tallied six goals and 13 assists for 19 points with 71 penalty minutes in 34 games
with Bowling Green this season as an assistant captain, and also helped BGSU to a first-round playoff upset of Lake Superior
Jones, who collected 18-52—70 points and 167 PIM in 127 career outings with the Falcons, will join former NAHL and
BGSU star Brian Holzinger in Tampa Bay. The Buffalo Sabres traded Holzinger, the 1995 Hobey Baker Memorial Award
winner as the top player in U.S. college hockey, to the Lightning last month.
Jones played two years with the NAHL’s Cleveland Barons, recording 15-33—48 points as a rookie left wing in
1994-95. He switched to the blueline the following season and notched 25-45—70 points in 46 outings while also serving
as Cleveland’s team captain. He led all league defensemen in points that year, led all NAHL players in assists, and Read more»
Have you read this before: “The Lightning are putting together an
impressive collection of talent that will get them out of the NHL basement.”
Well unfortunately those statements have gone without results from the
players themselves. However all the blame can’t be placed on the players
alone. Changes in ownership, front office, coach and staff have resulted in
a massive overhaul in the Lightning roster. Out is owner Art Williams, in is…
Davidson. Out is GM Phil Esposito, in is Rick Dudley. Out is coach
Jacques Demers, in is Steve Ludzik. To put it in a nut shell the Lightning
upgraded to a more hockey smart (and professional sports smart) owner, a GM
that won’t use aging veterans to band aid the roster, and a coach that
combines his ability to discipline while relate to his players. This new
staff has been given the challenge to rebuild the last rebuilding process of
the Bolt roster. And they are doing a good job of it. Out are big and slow
talent. Dudley has replaced that with big and fast, really fast, talent.
Most of this talent comes on the blueline. Dudley is developing a nucleus of
young defensemen comparable to the New York Islanders of a few seasons ago.
Below is more is a more in-depth look at the defensemen in the Lightning
This has quickly become the organizational strength as far as talent is
concerned. Following graduated prospects Andrei Zyuzin, Sergey Gusev, Pavel Read more»
After all the personnel changes by the Lightning organization, I assumed the first couple of days of camp would be taken up with introductions. Between trades, signings, invitations, and every other conceivable means of acquiring players, the Tampa Bay training camp roster looked very little like last years. The Lightning had a horrible past two seasons, but they did have a core of good players. Injuries were also a problem for the Bolts. Rick Dudley, G.M. of the Lightning, did a good job of bringing in a lot of players. One of the biggest problems in the last couple of years in Tampa was depth. With having to hurry draftees into the lineup and no real minor league system to speak of, the team was not able to develop any depth within the organization.