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More and more it’s becoming abundantly clear that the Lightning will be holding onto the 10th overall pick at this year’s NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. Whether you agree with the move or not, it shouldn’t come as that much of a shock when you consider that Al Murray, the Lightning’s chief amateur scout, has been quoted as saying that Steve Yzerman will be taking the best player available on draft day. The question becomes, will Tampa get a good enough player with the 10th overall pick? Most scouts and experts agree that after Yakupov, the 2-10 spots are fairly solid players. However, after the 10th pick there is a significant drop-off. The Lightning are sitting right on that thinly cut line.

With the pick, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Lightning will probably be selecting a goaltender. By the time the tenth pick rolls around, most, if not all, the top flight forwards will be off the board. That’s not much of a concern as this draft has been compared to 2008 with regards to its top-end defensive talent. Everybody remembers 2008 as the year the Lightning took Stamkos at number one, but also recall that players like Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn, Alex Pietrangelo, Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson and Zach Bogosian were also taken within the first fifteen picks. So, if this draft is being compared to the riches that were there in 2008, Lightning fans should be pretty excited about holding onto that tenth pick. Recently, I posted a draft preview blog outlining a couple players the Lightning should, and probably do, have interest in. The one name that really stood out was that of Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings. After Ryan Murray, there isn’t a more complete D-man on the draft board.

Steve Yzerman hasn’t hid the fact that he has interest in Reinhart. Over the course of the Oil Kings season, Yzerman made trips to Edmonton to watch the big kid play. You have to assume he liked what he saw. Griffin Reinhart stands 6’4” tall and weighs in at 202 pounds; he’s absolutely massive for an eighteen year old kid. Scouts praise Reinhart’s two way game, his hockey sense and his on-ice vision. Add those three intangibles to his size and you have a really complete player. If there’s one thing that Tampa Bay Lightning fans learned this season it’s that you can never have enough size on the back-end.

Drafting Reinhart would be huge for the Lightning organization. Imagine a core group of D including Keith Aulie, Brian Lee, Griffin Reinhart, Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer and a veteran like Mike Commodore as the sixth guy. Yes, by all accounts Reinhart could step in and be an NHL ready defenseman at the ripe age of eighteen; this kid is the real deal. The Lightning would have one of the biggest blue-lines in the league but also one of the most mobile ones. Guys like Reinhart, Hedman and Lee can all move the puck and skate quite well. Lee, in particular, really flourished under Guy Boucher to end the season. With a young defense, a good, young core and the right coaching staff, the Lightning could be poised to make a big run next year.

A couple questions remain, however. From all indications, teams ahead of the Lightning have interest in Reinhart also. Would Steve Yzerman be willing to move up in order to get the player whom many believe is the perfect fit for this organization? Then there’s the question of goaltending. If Yzerman keeps his first round pick, he has taken away arguably his most valuable bargaining chip. With Schneider off the market, that’s probably not as big of an issue as it could have been as there isn’t an available goalie worth a top-10 pick at this point in time. Still, these are issues for Yzerman to consider and work out prior to draft day.

If Yzerman stands up on the podium in Pittsburgh and gets to call out Griffin Reinhart’s name, this fan will be incredibly happy. With so much promise surrounding this organization right now, adding a piece like Reinhart would send me to the moon. It’s going to be an exciting off-season to follow as GM Steve Yzerman has a lot of key decisions to make.

Thanks for reading!
Filed Under:   tampa   bay   lightning   griffin   reinhart   draft   trade  
May 5, 2012 5:00 PM ET | Delete
I think Cody Ceci is a better option.
May 5, 2012 8:11 PM ET | Delete
Nice article, but a few issues: 1.) I'm not sure Reinhart is there at 10. It's quite likely he goes before that 2.) He's NOT NHL-ready. He's got size, but size doesn't equal readiness. He's very raw as a prospect; he's got the tools, but he stills needs development time.
May 5, 2012 10:24 PM ET | Delete
I agree that he will probably go before 10 now. Most of the mock drafts earlier in the year had him around ten and now he goes between 5 and 7. I disagree on the readiness issue. I've watched a number of Oil King games and given his size and vision, I think that he could make a push for the Lightning roster if he trains well enough over the summer under the Lightning's watch. Our defense is quite raw anyways.
May 5, 2012 10:26 PM ET | Delete
Ceci, long-term, has some great upside but his present physical game is really lacking to make an impact for a few years. Not saying that's a bad thing but I feel as though Reinhart is the next best thing as far as immediate impact next to Murray on the blue line!
May 6, 2012 1:35 AM ET | Delete
Message Posted
May 6, 2012 1:35 AM ET | Delete
We don't need a Dion Phenauf, we need a Drew Doughty.
May 6, 2012 1:37 AM ET | Delete
I personally see Reinhart as closer to Doughty than Ceci. Doughty's game was really taken on a new, two-way form that fits the mold of what we need. That two way game has become a trademark of Reinhart in junior. Talking to some people now who are saying they don't believe he will fall below 5th -- so this is all but a pipe dream now.
May 7, 2012 1:38 AM ET | Delete
Reality is Ceci and our second first should be Vasilevski.
May 7, 2012 5:47 AM ET | Delete
I doubt the Detroit pick will be ours by the time things are said and done. Even if it is ours, we are far safer drafting a forward down around 20th than a goalie. If we desperately want the goalie, which to me makes little sense, wait and use one of our second round picks. Don't waste a first on a goalie.
May 7, 2012 11:51 AM ET | Delete
May 7, 2012 11:52 AM ET | Delete
May 7, 2012 11:54 AM ET | Delete
Couldn't disagree with you more. A second first is a great Place for a goalie and we need them. I hope Yzerman sits on his hands and uses those picks to make our farm system and future the envy of every team in the league.
May 7, 2012 2:38 PM ET | Delete
I don't see what drfating Vasilevski does for the team. He is 3-4 years away, to start with. This team is honestly set-up to win now if it is going to win. Marty, Vinny, Brewer are three core guys who aren't going to be around forever. Obviously the future is bright with the young crowd to, but why not solve the problem now with a solution for the future. Vasilevski isn't that.
May 7, 2012 10:55 PM ET | Delete
I disagree. And he is not NHL-ready "by all accounts;" in fact, the vast majority of scouts will tell you that he is NOT ready. He is NHL-ready by YOUR account. By everyone else's account, he is not ready for the NHL. And that's not a slight on him; very few 18 year olds are ready for the NHL. I've seen him play as well, and I'm telling you he won't be in the NHL this season. It would be an enormous mistake to rush him. He's got the tools, but he's raw and has tons of developing to do.
May 8, 2012 1:22 AM ET | Delete
Just running on logic alone, these days so few players (usually in the 1-3 range) actually make the the NHL in their draft year and almost no defensemen do. I've heard Ryan Murray might buck that trend. I'd be surprised if more than 1 defenseman gets an NHL roster spot, even if it is "the defensemen's draft."
May 8, 2012 8:11 AM ET | Delete
"Very solid pick here and many have said that Reinhart could very well step into the NHL next year depending on the team." -- not my words, but those of another. I'm not the only one who feels that this guy could make the show, depending on the team. Is he going to make it with the Canucks? No. The Lightning? Perhaps.
May 9, 2012 1:20 AM ET | Delete
Never. Not at all. And who said that? You can't just list a quote and then not say who said it. It's probably another not credible commenter somewhere. Go ask any scout. I promise you, Reinhart will not be in the NHL this season.
May 9, 2012 7:43 AM ET | Delete
Reinhart would be a great pick I hope they can get subban also maybe in the late 1st or 2nd round
May 10, 2012 2:44 PM ET | Delete
isles: Just google it. That was taken off a Carolina Hurricanes blog. You'll also find New York Islanders blogs talking about him. You assert that I'm the only one talking about him making the NHL; that's simply not the case. If he's drafted by a team weak on D, we'll see what happens. Last I checked, scouts don't determine who makes the NHL either. With a summer of training, Reinhart will buff up and could indeed be ready.
May 10, 2012 2:45 PM ET | Delete
I really don't see the late first being ours but if it is I'd take Subban over Vasilevski too. I still wouldn't use a late first round pick on him. When goalies are drafted in the first round, typically they are SURE things. I don't see that being the case with anyone available here. Wait for the second round and see.
May 10, 2012 2:46 PM ET | Delete
The tribune says that the Bolts will probably take a run at Suter -- that would be the perfect fit long-term if you ask me. Offensive output comes from moving the puck. Really and truly, I'd rather have a good puck mover than a Mike Green sort of player. Doughty used to be that offensive guy but he has turned into much more of a puck mover. That's the mold we need. Not flash.
May 10, 2012 9:57 PM ET | Delete
The problem is who is Yzerman going to sell suter on we have no goalie yet ? Suter wants money and to play for a winner. If Ohlund retires I then could see us landing Suter because we would have the money then. Think how could we could be if we could somehow land Schenider and Suter this offseason. How about 1st, 2nd and Tokarski for Schenider.
May 11, 2012 8:11 AM ET | Delete
That is a ridiculous over payment for Schnieder. As far as Subban, I'd rather trade that pick for melted bag of pucks then have that self obsessed drama queens brother on my team. He he is anything like him then he's nothing but a cancer and a waste of a pick. Vasilevski or Dansk, NOT a Subban.
May 11, 2012 8:12 AM ET | Delete
Mike Green hasn't been affective since before getting his brain scrambled.
May 11, 2012 10:23 AM ET | Delete
No but that's the comparison. We don't need a guy who just goes all-out on offense. A 1st 2nd and Tokarski for Schneider isn't even close to an overpayment. If anything, that's an underpayment. It would have to be our first, our second and probably two prospects, Tokarski being one of them.
May 11, 2012 12:22 PM ET | Delete
No way Jose. We have NO idea if Schneider can play behind a lesser defense. Our first is potentially worth more. Why does everyone think it is better to trade picks then to draft well. Look at most good teams in the NHL. Did they trade for there goalies or draft them?
May 11, 2012 12:25 PM ET | Delete
The direction that this league is going and the way in which teams throw out contracts, teams like the lightning can't compete. Drafting well, developing them and retaining them are the best way for the Lightning to be like Detroit or Nashville. We must stand pat and show the league that there are some out there that won't blow there load on one guy who they think will change there furtunes.
May 11, 2012 12:38 PM ET | Delete
To have Luongo, like they're rumored too and Suter, like they're rumored too would put the Lightning at nearly 60m. Suppose the cap doesn't dip below that? What then? No money to resign Teddy, Brian, Keith or Nate at then end of next season because you know they'll give Aulie and Lee 1year (show me) deals Now what? You have a salary strapped team that is incomplete.
May 11, 2012 12:44 PM ET | Delete
The two UFA defensemen I have on my wish list to make TBay strong on the back end for a good amount of years are: resign Mike Commodore and July first sign Barret Jackman. You want a wall between the Blueline and the goal line? Brewer-Hedman, Jackman-Lee, Aulie-Commodore and Bergeron ONLY for PP. And that defense will cost you less then with Suter.
May 11, 2012 2:19 PM ET | Delete
Watch the Canucks play in front of Schneider, Artyukhin. I'm telling you, he gets left out to dry ALL the time. He is, in my opinion, the best positional goalie in the game. He's worth every penny that he is going to get. A first, second and Tokarski would be outbid by the Maple Leafs in an instant.
May 11, 2012 2:21 PM ET | Delete
Obviously cap concerns are big, yes. Still, the cap is expected to go up to $69million for next season. I don't think the cap will actually fall that much with new CBA as neither the players, nor the league, can really afford to lose ground on what they've created since 05. Jackman will be expensive as well. He won't go for less than $4.5 on the open market.
May 11, 2012 6:15 PM ET | Delete
I would sell my first born to sign Suter, trade peanuts to Get Luongo and still keep the majority of our picks. I just don't see it happening. Eric at the tribune is disinterested in the Lightning at best. Our best bet is for a solid future and not pull a "Jay Feaster" is to use our picks and cap space for what we have.
May 11, 2012 7:50 PM ET | Delete
If we could get Suter Luongo, that would be the IDEAL situation. You would instantly have to consider us a pre-season favorite with that roster.
May 12, 2012 1:58 AM ET | Delete
May 12, 2012 1:58 AM ET | Delete
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