Bolts: Who to pick 3rd overall/Crunch update!
The draft is drawing closer and the Lightning and their number 3 overall pick have some decisions to make. The new Colorado Avalanche coach, Patrick Roy, said he would be interested in moving the number 1 pick, if something came along. Seth Jones is a highly coveted defenseman, an area the Bolts need to improve. However, trading for the number 1 pick would come with a price tag and the Lightning (at number 3) shouldn’t pay that fee.
The Lightning have plenty of options at number 3 and should let Seth Jones go. There will be defensive options in free agency and this years draft class is deep in defense. So what to do with the number 3 pick? Here’s a look at a few options:
Jonathan Drouin – The highly skilled much sought after forward. He is expected to go at number 3, behind Seth Jones, and Nathan MacKinnon. Drouin put up 41 goals and 64 assists for 105 points in 49 regular season games for the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL. He was the MVP in the QMJHL this year as well. Drouin is a viable option for the Lightning and an exciting one indeed.
Valeri Nichushkin – This kid has been making waves in the news lately. Besides being a rumored target by Yzerman, this kid has been described as “a man amongst boys” regarding this year’s draft class. Nichushkin wants to play in the NHL next season, but if he doesn’t make an NHL club, he will play for Dynamo in the KHL. Nichushkin is also being described as another Malkin, not a bad pick if the Bolts choose to go that way.
Trading the Pick – There are many teams who are willing to put some kind of package together for this pick. Some say the Lightning could pick up one or two top six forwards plus another teams first rounder for their pick. The downfall here is the cap space the Lightning has available to use. Top six forwards are not cheap, and the Bolts do not have a lot of wiggle room. They could definitely use a couple of top six forwards to compliment St. Louis, Purcell, and Ryan Malone. It may be smarter to keep the pick and use it on either Nichushkin or Drouin.
On Cap Space –
Despite what was recently reported in the Toronto Star, it’s unlikely that the Lightning buyout Vinny Lecavalier. Ryan Malone is a different story. Malone has been plagued by injuries over the past couple of seasons and his production has declined. Malone might be on his way out.
Syracuse Crunch –
The Tampa Bay Lightning affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins by the score of 7-0 in Game 5 to win the series and advance to the Calder Cup Finals. For the 2nd straight year a Lightning affiliate has made the Calder Cup Finals, last year being the Norfolk Admirals. The Crunch awaits the winner of the Oklahoma City Barons and the Grand Rapids Griffins series. Congrats to the Bolts affiliate.