Tampa Bay Lightning Draft Analysis

Anthony Deangelo was the Tampa Bay Lightning's first-round pick on Friday.

Bill Streicher

PHILADELPHIA — The Tampa Bay Lightning did not go into the draft with any plan other than selecting the best players available.

A pattern of adding defensive depth and leadership quickly emerged.

Of its seven selections, Tampa Bay added four defensemen and by chance, four others served in roles as either a captain or assistant captain on their respective teams.

"I don’t know if teams go in planning it’s going to be D, D, D, D," Lightning coach Jon Cooper told FOXsportsflorida.com. " A lot of teams go for the best player available, and in our situation, those were the guys that we wanted and it worked out."

The Lightning also keyed in on players who had experience at the international level, or had played in key situations and performed. The fact most were leaders, just happened to be a bonus, Cooper said.

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"We felt we had some good players, guys who have stepped up and great hockey in big situations and been leaders in those situations," he said. "Put that all together and that’s why we chose them."

Dominik Masin, D, Slavia Jr. (Czech Jr.): The captain of the two medal-winning winning Czech team at U18 and U20 level, Masin plays a smart game in his own end. He doesn’t strive to be flashy or overly physical. His offensive game emerged last season, when he recorded two goals and 19 assists in 39 contests. Scouts say the second-round selection (35th overall is) consistent and reliable.

Johnathan MacLeod, D, USA U-18 (USHL): The Lowell, Massachussets native likes concentrating on his own end and considers himself a shutdown defenseman. Tampa Bay’s second second-round pick, MacLeod served as captain for the USA U-17 team, and earned a gold medal with the Americans at the 2014 U-18 World Championship. He’s committed to playing at Boston University, the college team he grew up rooting for.

Brayden Point, C, Moose Jaw (WHL): Tampa Bay traded up one pick to make sure they were able to select Point, and it’s easy to understand why. Selected in the third round (79th overall) The center ranked 12th among Western Hockey League scorers with 91 points (36 goals, 55 assists). His point total was 36 points better than next highest Warriors scorer. He thrives on competitiveness and quickness.

Ben Thomas, D, Calgary (WHL): Thomas has all-around skill and solid positioning which make Tampa Bay’s fourth-round choice (119th overall) a good candidate to develop into a defender who can eats minutes. A season after splitting time between the Western Hockey League and lower-tier Alberta Junior Hockey League, Thomas showed more consistency in his play.

Christiano Digiacinto, LW, Windsor (OHL): A tough-as-nails winger, Digiacinto posted a respectable 17 goals and 11 assists in 50 contests. What stood out, though, was his toughness as he dropped the gloves nine times this past season. But his physical style of play has led to a few multiple-game suspensions. Drafted in the sixth-round, DiGiacinto is feisty and isn’t shy about  yapping with opponents.

Cameron Darcy, C/RW, Cape Breton (QMJHL): The versatile forward has jumped among three leagues before landing in the QMJHL. It’s there he emerged as a scoring threat and led his team with 35 goals and 47 assists in 65 games. Selected in the seventh-round (185th overall), Darcy can play in many situations due to his solid hockey sense. Having some stability by sticking in the QMJHL could help his skills develop to a point where he becomes a late-round surprise.

Point. How a top scorer like Point falls outside the top two rounds is curious, but it could have something to do with his size (5-foot-10, 160 pounds). That has never been an issue for the Bolts in the past, though, and faith in smaller guys may pay off again. Although undersized, Point proved to be a force for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, where he earned MVP honors for his performance in the gold-medal game. He can score and thrives on high level of competition. That’s not a terrible combination.

Thomas. Defensemen take a while to develop normally, and given his up-and-down performances over the last two years, Thomas may take a little longer. The key to his development is consistency. He displayed more poise last season which lifted his draft stock. That is a positive. Now its just a matter of keeping his progress trending upward.

You can follow Erin Brown on Twitter @rinkside or email her at erinbrownfla@gmail.com.