Best in Round is a ten part series. For each installment, I’ll be going through a specific round of the draft for the Tampa Bay Lightning and selecting the best player the team selected in that round. The player didn’t need to play for the Lightning or play significant time with the Lightning to qualify. Only that they were drafted by the Lightning. The rest of the selection criteria is purely subjective based on my own opinions. Some opinions may also be based on future speculation for players that have not finished their career or are just starting.
From the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, the Lightning’s first draft, through the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, there were 11 rounds in the draft. The Lightning have only had three 10th round and three 1th round picks in their history, so this entry is going to be a bit… disappointing to say the least. Because of the small number of picks, we’ll just go ahead and lump these two disappointments together.
Owing to his 2 career NHL games and the fact he actually played significantly at the AHL level, the award for the 11th round goes to defenseman Brian White, the 268th overall pick in the 1994 entry draft. White was an American high school player and went to the University of Maine for four seasons. Never a big point producer, he did not sign with the Lightning when his college career was finished and instead signed with the Colorado Avalanche.
He played in two NHL games in his first professional season, but never made it back to the NHL after that. He did however have 422 games in the AHL. He also spent two years in Europe playing in Germany and Finland. He then returned to the AHL for a couple seasons and retired after the 2007-08 season.
Due to his longevity in professional hockey and the fact he made it to the NHL, Brian White was the easy choice for the 11th round.
Much like the 11th round, the Lightning didn’t find much talent in the 10th. But, that’s fine. For most teams, the 10th and 11th round represented the longest of long shots and they were typically players that filled out the very bottom of the depth chart in the minors. Mostly they ended up as ECHL level or lower players if they even made it with the organization. So for any of them to make it to the AHL for extended time or even last in professional hockey for any great length of time is exceptional.
None of the three draft picks the Lightning had in the 10th round were signed by the Lightning. So, for the 10th round, we’ll go with Marc Tardif the 218th overall pick in the 1992 entry draft. Tardif played professional hockey through the 2007-08 season, though a lot of the latter part of his career were in lower level minor leagues in Quebec. He did win an ECHL Championship with the South Carolina Stingrays. Tardif was a rough customer and regularly racked up over 200 penalty minutes in a season.
So for his prolonged professional career and his ECHL Championship, the best 10th round pick by the Lightning ever goes to Marc Tardif.
Check back next Friday for the next installment of Best in Round when we’ll cover the 9th round.