2012 NHL Draft Grades: Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning Underwhelm With Selections Says Expert

The 2012 NHL Draft was held last week, giving teams the annual opportunity to restock the cupboard with up and coming talent. In the wake of the draft, analysts are handing out grades for each team's performance last week. Grades from SB Nation's NHL hub do not look good for both the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With just five total selections, the Panthers needed to make them count, but Matt Wagner says the team whiffed with their first-round pick.

The Panthers seemed comfortable picking at 23rd overall, but despite players like Henrik Samuelsson and Brendan Gaunce being available, they made the decision to reach for Michael Matheson instead. Matheson could provide some offensive punch from the blue line, but most expected him to be a second or third round selection. D

As for the Lightning, they had eight picks in the draft, highlighted by a pair of picks in each of the first two rounds. With four picks early in the draft, Tampa Bay should have graded out pretty well, right? Not so fast says Wagner.

Making several deals this weekend to garner extra selections, Steve Yzerman took a couple of gambles with his first round selections. On the one hand, he addressed clear areas of need when he drafted d-man Slater Koekkoek and goaltender Andrei Vasilevski, but both picks come with question marks, particularly the fact that Vasilevski may or may not make the jump to North America. Give him full credit for making bold moves, but the jury is out on if they'll actually pay off. C+

Both teams will be expecting those early impressions to improve once the season gets started.

For more on the Tampa Bay Lightning check out Raw Charge. For more on the Panthers, check out Litter Box Cats. You can check out more hockey news from around the league at SB Nation's NHL page

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