The NHL's year end spectacle, a cattle call of young and promising talent is set to take place at Scotiabank Place in a prime time television spectacular.
The NHL draft which once upon a time consisted of the then six NHL GM"s gathering over cigars and beer we suspect to pick and choose the young available talent, has grown to its stature as perhaps on of the three top events in the NHL slightly below the Stanley Cup finals but at a par if not above the trade deadline madness that infects the NHL each year.
This year, its the debut of Steven Stamkos on the NHL radar, as the Tampa Bay Lighting will stride across the stage, hold up their uniform and announce that Stamkos currently of the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, has been selected number one above all and is destined to play some of his early years on the west coast of Florida.
It's perhaps the easiest decision that Lightning GM Jay Feaster will ever have to make, a sure fire phenom, rated and raved by endless scouts one who could one day be the franchise player that all teams dream about.
Over the years, the process of turning the number one pick into the cornerstone franchise player has been a tricky one, the Ottawa Senators made a regular mess of their early picks in the NHL draft and no one will ever accuse the Toronto Maple Leafs of having found the blue print to success through the draft.
But one need look no further than the current Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings to realize the importance of a solid scouting staff and a management team that knows how to divine that vital information from the hockey outposts of the world.
Tampa gets a mulligan on this one, short of announcing the wrong name, they by all accounts will have a player in Stamkos that will one day change the fortunes of the Lightning on and off the ice.
Many of the following 29 teams could only wish that this was the year where the pool was full of Steven Stamkos clones, it would sure make the job just a little bit easier and provide a measure of job security that rarely can be found in the NHL.
Associated Press-- Lightning ready to pick Stamkos No. 1 in NHL draft
Globe and Mail-- Lightning set to strike Stamkos
Tampa Tribune-- Bolts GM Feaster Willing To Listen
Ottawa Sun-- Stamkos head of the class
Ottawa Sun-- Great draft set for faceoff
National Post-- NHL draft has come a long way in 45 years
National Post-- Defencemen define this year's NHL draft crop
New York Times-- Several Options at Top of the N.H.L.’s Draft