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Lightning Make Five Selections During Second Day of 2011 NHL Draft

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning made five picks during the second day of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and acquired defenseman Bruno Gervais from the New York Islanders in exchange for future considerations today at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Forward Marc-Antoine Pouliot was also traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for the 201st overall pick, with which the Bolts selected center Matthew Peca.

Yzerman Recaps Draft

Draft Central

With the 58th overall selection in the second round, Tampa Bay tabbed Russian winger Nikita Kucherov from CSKA 2 of the Russian Junior League. Kucherov, 5-foot-10, 163 pounds, recorded 27 goals and 58 points in 41 games this past season for his junior club, while also playing an integral role in helping his team capture the MHL championship. In addition, he represented Team Russia at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships, where he registered 11 goals and 21 points in seven games to help lead his team to a bronze medal victory. Kucherov was named the competition’s best forward, as his goal and point totals led all skaters in the tournament. He was ranked as the 17th overall European skater according to NHL Central Scouting.

With the 148th overall pick in the fifth round, the Bolts selected defenseman Nikita Nesterov from Chelyabinsk 2, also of the Russian Junior League. A 6-foot, 183-pound native of Russia, Nesterov was pegged as the 32nd overall European skater by NHL Central Scouting. In 46 games played in 2010-11, Nesterov posted five goals and 19 points, while also amassing 72 penalty minutes.

The Lightning also selected goaltender Adam Wilcox with the 178th overall selection in the sixth round. Wilcox, 6-foot, 171 pounds, spent last season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League, with whom he posted a 16-6-1 record with one shutout in 24 games played. His 2.20 goals-against average ranked third among all USHL net minders in 2010-11, as did his .922 save percentage. A native of South St. Paul, Minnesota, Wilcox also appeared in two playoff games with the Gamblers last season, registering a 1-0-0 record, while allowing just a single goal in 87:49 of ice time.

In the seventh and final round, Tampa Bay traded center Marc-Antoine Pouliot to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for the 201st overall pick, with which it selected Matthew Peca, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound center from the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Central Hockey League. Last season, Peca improved on his statistics from the previous year, as he notched 26 goals, 46 assists and 72 points in 50 games.

With their final pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 208th overall, the Lightning selected left wing Ondrej Palat of the Drummondville Voltigeurs out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Palat, 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, drastically improved his offensive output last season, as he recorded 39 goals and 96 points in 61 games during the 2010-11 campaign after notching 40 points in 59 games with the Voltigeurs in 2009-10.

A native of the Czech Republic, Palat finished the 2010-11 regular season ranked fourth in scoring among all QMJHL skaters. He also ranked sixth in goals, while his assist total was good for seventh in the league. He was fifth in power-play goals with 15 and sixth in game-winning goals with seven. Palat also skated in a team-best 10 postseason games with Drummondville last season, tying for the club lead with 11 points.

On Saturday, the Bolts also traded future considerations to the New York Islanders in exchange for NHL veteran defenseman Bruno Gervais. Gervais, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, has appeared in 331 career games, all with the Islanders, amassing nine goals and 68 points. He enjoyed his best season in 2008-09 when he notched three goals and 19 points in 69 games. Prior to that season, he helped lead the Islanders to the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he registered a goal and two points in five games.

Tampa Bay selected forward Vladislav Namestnikov in the first round, 27th overall, on Friday during the first day of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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