2022 NHL Draft: Tampa Bay Lightning Prototypes, QMJHL

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The 2022 NHL Draft is fast approaching. The Tampa Bay Lightning, preparing to play the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers, elected to keep their first-round draft selection for the first time in what seems like forever. So, while they likely aren’t focusing too much on the draft, Last Word will look at some Lightning draft prototypes in a new series. 

Lightning 2022 NHL Draft Prototypes: QMJHL Forwards

The Lightning, since 2010 when Julien BriseBois became an assistant general manager and Al Murray joined the organization, have drafted most of their forwards from the QMJHL. In total, they have selected 12 total forwards from the QMJHL. The average of those players is roughly 6’0” and 194 pounds. 

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Those players also averaged about 85 “Q” games played before being drafted and scored roughly 32 goals and 41 assists for 73 points. The lowest totals in those three categories that they drafted out of the 12 forwards was 30 games played, 10 goals and seven assists for 17 points. The largest totals they drafted was 162 games played, 56 goals, 86 assists and 136 points. Using those parameters, here are the top fits. (Also used to set parameters are per-game stats and U18 World Junior stats). 

Lightning 2022 NHL Draft Fit #1: Nathan Gaucher, Center, Quebec Remparts

The top forward fit was actually a tie between two players, with Gaucher being the higher-ranked prospect of the two. With a draft fit score of +1.5, Gaucher would set new highs for Lightning draft picks out of the QMJHL for his height (6’3”) and goals scored (58). He also was above the Lightning average for “Q” selections in the following categories: weight (207), games played (155), assists (54), and points (112).

What also aided Gaucher in landing on this list is the fact he plays for Quebec, as Tampa has selected a player out of the Quebec organization in the past (Adam Erne). What held Gaucher back from being the clear-cut top fit for Tampa is his per-game stats being all below Tampa’s average, as well as the fact he did not play in the World Juniors for Canada. 

Gaucher ranks anywhere from 20th (Bob McKenzie) to 58th (Smaht Scouting), landing him squarely within Tampa Bay’s reach. Gaucher is considered a fairly safe pick. He has the size, two-way ability, and solid goal-scoring touch that NHL teams look for. Gaucher is a strong net-front presence who uses his physicality well, though he could use it more going forward. Paired with his two-way play, he has the skill-set to project as a middle-six forward. He can play both on the second power-play unit and the penalty kill.

The biggest issues in Gaucher’s game is his skating and high-end offensive skills. If the Lightning want a player in the mold of what they have in Nick Paul for the future, though that may be a bit of a stretch, Gaucher could very well be their guy. 

Lightning Fit #2: Jordan Dumais, Right Wing, Halifax

Dumais is the other top fit, also with a +1.5 draft fit score. Dumais would set new highs for Lightning “Q” draft picks in assists (89) and points (138). He’s also above average for the Lightning thresholds in games played (108), goals (49), and all per-game stats. The fact he plays for Halifax also helps him in this. The Lightning have drafted two players out of Halifax (Jonathan Drouin and Otto Somppi).

What holds Dumais from being the top fit for QMJHLers is that he did not play in the World Juniors. Also, his size holds him back. As a matter of fact, Dumais would be the shortest player drafted by the Lightning out of the “Q”. Dumais stands at 5 ‘9″. He would also be the lightest, as he weighs 165 pounds.

Dumais is very much the opposite of Gaucher. Dumais is not the physical, big-body player that Gaucher is. He ranks anywhere from 48th (The Puck Authority) and 95th (FCHockey). The Lightning don’t have a second or third-round pick, making it hard to project their selection of Dumais. But, if they have the opportunity, Dumais brings a high-octane offensive game to the table.

Though he isn’t the fastest skater, he is shifty. He can change speeds with very little effort, which can catch defenders off guard. Dumais’ vision and high offensive IQ pop off the page, and his transitional game is also high-end. Defensively, he isn’t great, but he’s not a liability either. He needs to bulk up, certainly, and his skating needs some more work. But Dumais brings a high ceiling and an enticing raw skillset.
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