OTTAWA Steven Stamkos was selected with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.
The Lightning made no secret how much they liked the speedy, offensive-minded 18-year-old forward from suburban Toronto and chose him just minutes after they went onto the draft clock.
Tampa Bay, coming off an NHL-low, 31-win season, had the first pick in the draft for the second time. The Lightning chose Vincent Lecavalier No. 1 in 1998.
Lightning general manager Jay Feaster has been so impressed with Stamkos that he's already got him penciled in as his second-line center for the upcoming season. Rated the top prospect by NHL Central Scouting, Stamkos is listed at 6-foot and 183 pounds. He produced 197 points (100 goals and 97 assists) in 124 games over two seasons with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League.
The draft then followed what many had predicted: plenty of defensemen being drafted and lots of trades, too.
Calgary completed two deals, trading center Alex Tanguay to Montreal for the Canadiens' first-round pick (25th) this year, and their second-round pick next year. The Flames then acquired Los Angeles Kings center Mike Cammalleri in a trade involving three teams.
Calgary sent its first-round pick, No. 17, to Los Angeles. The Kings then dealt that pick and the 28th selection to Anaheim for the Ducks' first-rounder, No. 12 overall.
Phoenix acquired Florida Panthers captain Olli Jokinen for defensemen Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton and the 49th pick in this year's draft.
Columbus acquired Flyers forward R.J. Umberger and Philadelphia's fourth-round pick (118th) for the Blue Jackets' second of two first-round picks (No. 19) and their third-rounder (No. 67).
After Stamkos, four straight defensemen were selected to round out the top 5. The Kings took Drew Doughty from Guelph of the OHL with the second pick, and Atlanta followed with the selection of another blue-liner Zach Bogosian from Peterborough of the OHL at No. 3.
St. Louis selected Alex Pietrangelo from Niagara of the OHL with the fourth pick, and the Toronto Maple Leafs completed a complicated deal with the New York Islanders, moving up two spots from No. 7 to pick Luke Schenn, who played for Kelowna of the Western Hockey League.
CANADIENS TO SPEAK WITH SUNDIN: The Montreal Canadiens received permission from the Maple Leafs to speak with Toronto captain Mats Sundin, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher told The Canadian Press on Friday that the team had given its permission, but he had no other comment.
"We have given Montreal the exclusive rights to talk to him up until 12 noon on July 1 when he becomes a free agent," Fletcher said. "It's not in my best interest to say anything else, it's not in Montreal's best interest and not in Mats' best interest."
Sundin has been with the Maple Leafs since being acquired in a trade from Quebec at the 1994 draft. He is the franchise leader in points and goals.
THRASHERS HIRE JOHN ANDERSON AS COACH: After coaching in the minors for 13 seasons and winning five championships John Anderson finally landed a coveted NHL job when the Atlanta Thrashers announced him as the fourth coach in franchise history Friday.
Anderson was an obvious choice after leading the Thrashers' top affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, to the American Hockey League title. In fact, general manager Don Waddell didn't start the interview process until the Wolves had beaten Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the Calder Cup finals on June 10.