After trading out of the first round on Friday, dealing pick No. 28 to the New York Islanders for a second- (33rd overall) and third-round (72nd) selection, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally got to call a name early Saturday at the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
That name: Mitchell Stephens.
Stephens, an 18-year-old center from Peterborough, Ontario, played 62 games for Saginaw of the OHL in 2014-15 and tallied 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists).
“It’s an amazing feeling, that’s for sure,” Stephens said after being selected with the 33rd overall pick. “I’m a little tight for words, but it’s an amazing opportunity Tampa Bay has given me. I’m very proud and very humble to be drafted by such an amazing organization.”
At 5-foot-11, 188 pounds, Stephens is a right-handed shot who scored five goals and added five assists while playing seven games for the Canadien U-18 team in 2014-15.
Stephens said he models his game after fellow Petersborough native, Nashville’s Mike Fisher.
“I’m a two-way player,” Stephens said. “I bring a lot of high energy, high compete to the game. I’m a very good skater. I think with the systems that Tampa Bay plays, a high-energy, high-paced game, I think I’m going to fit in well.”
Stephens said he watched Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup run and came away impressed with the Bolts aggressive nature and high execution level.
“They made a great Cup run,” Stephens said. “It’s going to be a good experience. They have a lot of young guys. I’m just lost for words right now.”
The Lightning have 10 picks total Saturday: two second rounders (Nos. 33 and 44 overall), two third rounders (No. 64 and 72), two fourth-round selections (Nos. 118 and 120), a fifth-round pick (No. 150), two sixth rounders (Nos. 153 and 180) and a seventh rounder (No. 208).