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Lightning take Nolan Foote with first round pick

The left winger scored 36 goals and recorded 27 assists last season with Kelowna of the WHL

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Makes sense in Vancouver where Swedish twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin plied their trade for so many years together on the ice, the Tampa Bay Lightning would go searching for their own version of brotherly love.

They found it with the 27th pick in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, the Lightning selecting Nolan Foote, the younger brother of defenseman Cal Foote, the Bolts first round draft pick (14th overall) two years earlier in the 2017 draft.

The younger Foote is a sizable left winger measuring 6-foot-4, 195 pounds out of Kelowna of the Western Hockey League. In 66 games for Kelowna in 2018-19, Foote averaged nearly a point a game with a team-leading 36 goals and 27 assists. Over three seasons with the Rockets, Foote has amassed 68 goals, 70 assists and 138 points in 168 career games.

Foote is an 18-year-old left-handed shot who is already as tall as his older brother is currently.

"Shaky, happy, smiling, I couldn't believe it," Foote said of hearing his name called. "Whole family was up. It feels great."

Newly-appointed Lightning assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting Al Murray announced the selection from the Rogers Arena stage.

Tweet from @TBLightning: Meet No. 27, Nolan Foote! ������ #NHLDraft https://t.co/X0cS8Gk6gU

"Obviously, we know the family well," Murray said. "We know Cal. Nolan's been around our American League team a little bit coming to watch Cal. He's familiar to us. Stacy Roest, our (assistant GM, director of player development) has worked with Cal and been on the ice with Nolan as well because he lives in that area. It's an easy pick for us, but he's the guy we wanted. He fits a lot of things we're looking for. He brings all of the attributes we want."

The most notable of those attributes being his size.

"When the player comes up and he's taller than the coach and the GM, that's a good sign at this young age," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told NBC Sports Network's Kathryn Tappen on the draft broadcast. "Competitive as he can be, he can shoot the puck with NHL players right now. Size and strength, something that will help us moving forward. You just love the ultra-competitiveness he and his brother have, and that's what sold us."

Murray said Foote has a hard, quick release shot that is NHL ready. Murray thinks he still has room to get even bigger too.

"If you meet him and look at him, he's a tall guy but he hasn't really filled out yet so there's room to put on more muscle," he said. "With that strength is going to improve his skating. We see him just sort of scratching the surface right now."

Foote was ranked 37th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting entering the draft. He represented Canada at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, recording a goal and an assist in five games to help lead his team to the gold medal.

His father Adam Foote skated in 1,154 NHL games across 19 seasons with Quebec, Colorado and Columbus and won two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche (1996 and 2001).

Nolan's older brother Cal heard his named called by the Lightning two years earlier at Chicago's United Center, Nolan there to watch and observe what that feeling was like. When Nolan's turn came Friday night in Vancouver, the two brothers embraced.

Nolan and Cal shared the ice together for two seasons in Kelowna (2016-17 and 2017-18). Now, they'll potentially get to do so again one day at the NHL level with the Lightning.

"We've mentioned (being on the same team), playing junior together," Nolan Foote said. "It's crazy to now be in the same organization in the NHL. We didn't think anything of it. We just thought it would be cool, but now it's real. I can't wait to celebrate with him."

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