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Laying the foundation: Revisiting the 1992 NHL Expansion Draft

Bryan Burns looks back at the historic day in Montreal, rating each Lightning pick for the impact they had

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

On Wednesday, the newly-formed Vegas Golden Knights will select one player from every NHL team in the Expansion Draft to fill their roster.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are no strangers to expansion drafts. On June 18, 1992 the Lightning and the Ottawa Senators convened in Montreal to build the foundation for their respective franchises through the 1992 Expansion Draft. Both the Lightning and the Senators selected 21 players that day, and while not all the players selected were burgeoning all-stars, the two teams were able to uncover enough gems to start playing competitive hockey in the NHL.

So, which expansion draft selections for the Lightning were hits and which ones were misses? With the benefit of hindsight, we'll take a look back at that historic day in Montreal and rate each Lightning pick for the impact they had on the burgeoning franchise.

#1 - G Wendell Young: Tampa Bay Lightning founder Phil Esposito stressed the importance of acquiring a dependable netminder to anchor his new team, so with their first pick, the Bolts selected goalie Wendell Young from Pittsburgh. Young would play just two seasons and 40 games with the Lightning before being traded back to Pittsburgh for future considerations in February of 1995. Young's final numbers with Tampa Bay: 9-22-3 with a 3.39 goals-against average and .879 save percentage.

The verdict: Miss

#2 - G Frederic Chabot: Again, goaltending was the most pressing need, so with its second expansion pick, Tampa Bay nabbed Chabot from Montreal. A day later, the Lightning sent Chabot back to Montreal for G Jean-Claude Bergeron, who played in 53 games for the Lightning over the next four seasons. Chabot skated in just 32 games total for his NHL career and holds the league record - along with Daren Puppa - for being the player most selected in expansion drafts.

The verdict: Miss

#3 - D Joe Reekie: The first non-goalie selected by the Lightning, Reekie played 115 games for Tampa Bay over the next two seasons, recording three goals and 22 assists in 115 games. Then he was traded to Washington for a couple of draft picks and D Enrico Ciccone, who would be a fan favorite during the Lightning's early years.

The verdict: Hit

#4 - D Shawn Chambers: Selected from Washington, Chambers played three seasons in a Lightning uniform, scoring 10 goals in his first year and 11 goals the next. In March 1995, the Bolts dealt Chambers to New Jersey for forwards Danton Cole, Alexander Semak and Ben Hankinson. Chambers would go on to play 425 games following the expansion draft and win Stanley Cups with the Devils (1995) and Dallas Stars (1999) before hanging up his skates in 2000.

Sidenote: Chambers is said to have the lowest rating ever for a hockey player in a video game. He was rated a 1 (out of 100) in EA's NHLPA '93.

The verdict: Hit…video game ratings aside, the guy was a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

#5 - D Peter Taglianetti: Tampa Bay's second selection off the Pittsburgh Penguins' roster, Taglianetti suited up just one season for the Lightning and skated in 61 games, recording a goal and eight assists, before being traded back to the Penguins for a third round selection in 1993. Taglianetti would last only a couple more seasons in the NHL after going back to Pittsburgh.

The verdict: Miss

#6 - D Bob McGill: A NHL veteran on the back end of his career, McGill never played a game for the Lightning and was sent to Toronto before the 1992-93 season. McGill played just 52 more games between the Maple Leafs, New York Islanders and Hartford Whalers before finishing his career with the Chicago Wolves of the IHL in 1995-96.

The verdict: Miss

#7 - D Jeff Bloemberg: Continuing the run on defensemen in the expansion draft - picks Nos. 5-17 were all blueliners - Bloemberg was another player who never suited up for the Lightning. Before the Bolts' inaugural season, he was traded to Edmonton for future considerations. He never played another game in the NHL following the expansion draft.

The verdict: Miss

#8 - D Doug Crossman: Taken from the Quebec Nordiques, Crossman was on the Bolts inaugural roster and tallied a respectable eight goals and 21 assists in 40 games before being shipped to St. Louis midseason in a multi-player, multi-pick deal. He played 69 games for the Blues before bouncing around the AHL and IHL and then calling it quits.

The verdict: Miss

#9 - D Rob Ramage: The No. 1 overall pick in the 1979 NHL Draft by the Colorado Rockies, Ramage was beginning his 14th NHL season when he was selected by Tampa Bay. He lasted one season with the Lightning, putting up five goals and 12 assists in 66 games before being shipped to Montreal for defensemen Eric Charron, Alain Cote and future considerations (D Donald Dufresne) in March of 1993.

The verdict: Miss

#10 - C Michel Mongeau: The first non-goalie, non-defenseman taken by the Lightning, Mongeau had only four skates with the Bolts before being traded to Quebec in February 1993. He never played in the NHL again.

The verdict: Miss

#11 - C Anatoli Semenov: Semenov scored 20 goals for the Edmonton Oilers in 1991-92 before the Lightning grabbed him in the expansion draft, but the Russian lasted just 13 games with the Bolts before being traded to Vancouver on November 3, 1992.

The verdict: Miss

#12 - L Mike Hartman: Selected from Winnipeg, Hartman collected 264 penalty minutes the season prior for the Jets, ranking tied for 14th in the league. His Lightning career lasted just one season and 58 games before being dealt to the New York Rangers for C Randy Gilhen on March 22, 1993.

The verdict: Miss

#13 - L Basil McRae: Another physical forward, McRae recorded 245 penalty minutes, tied for 22nd in the league, for the Minnesota North Stars the season prior to the expansion draft. He played 14 games for the Lightning and scored two goals before being shipped to St. Louis in a multi-player, multi-draft pick trade.

The verdict: Miss

#14 - R Rob DiMaio: A selection from the New York Islanders, DiMaio put up a respectable nine goals and 15 assists in 54 games for the Lightning during their inaugural season. He played 39 games for the Bolts the following season before being dealt to Philadelphia. DiMaio rejoined the Lightning for the 2005-06 season after signing as a free agent and played 63 games (including playoffs) in what would be his final season in hockey.

The verdict: Hit

#15 - F Steve Maltais: Maltais put up 20 points in 63 games for the Lightning during the inaugural season, but was also a minus-20. He was traded to Detroit for D Dennis Vial in the offseason and played just 30 more games total in the NHL. Maltais, however, was a big-time point producer for the Chicago Wolves of the IHL and then the AHL, recording four-consecutive seasons of 100-plus points from 1995-99.

The verdict: Miss

#16 - L Dan Vincelette: Vincelette was taken from Chicago after notching three goals and five assists in 29 games the season prior but never suited up in the NHL again.

The verdict: Miss

#17 - R Tim Bergland: Bergland was taken from Washington and played 27 games in the Lightning's inaugural season and 51 games the following season before the Caps reclaimed him off waivers in March of 1994. He played just three more games in the NHL with the Caps before finishing out his career in the minor leagues.

The verdict: Miss

#18 - C Brian Bradley: The Lightning's first bonafide superstar, Bradley had never registered more than 48 points in a season (1989-90 with Vancouver) before exploding for 42 goals -- still the seventh-highest goal output in a season by a Lightning player -- and 86 points in his first season with the Bolts. Bradley became Tampa Bay's first-ever All-Star that season and would earn another All-Star Game selection the following year. Bradley finished his career in Tampa Bay, playing 328 games for the Lightning over six seasons, scoring 111 goals and assisting on 189 more for 300 career points with the Bolts.

The verdict: Hit

#19 - R Keith Osborne: The Lightning's second-consecutive pickup from the Maple Leafs, Osborne didn't have quite the impact of Bradley. The former No. 12 overall pick in the 1987 NHL Draft played just 11 games for the Bolts before being let go as a free agent following the season.

The verdict: Miss

#20 -- D Shayne Stevenson: Stevenson played eight games for the Lightning and recorded one assist but never played in the NHL again after the 1992-93 season.

The verdict: Miss

#21 - F Tim Hunter: Hunter was with the Lightning for all of a day before being dealt to Quebec for future considerations (F Martin Simard). He continued playing in the league five more seasons before retiring. He finished with 815 games played in the NHL and 3,146 penalty minutes, eighth-most all-time in league history.

The verdict: Miss

Final results: Four hits, 17 misses…Certainly, the Lightning didn't have much to choose from during the 1992 Expansion Draft, which makes the fact they were able to qualify for the playoffs in just four seasons all the more remarkable.

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