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Friday, Jul 20, 2018
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Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

The Lightning is on the board in the 2018 NHL draft, using their first pick — 59th overall in the second round — on Gabriel Fortier, an undersize left wing from Quebec.

"I spoke with them a couple of times, so I knew there was an interest, but I never knew this was going to happen," Fortier said after being selected. "When I was 5 years old, I started playing hockey. I wanted this moment, so it's a great day for my family and me. It's amazing."

Fortier, 18, is listed at 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds, and he tallied 26 goals and 33 assists last season for Baie-Comeau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. His brother, Max, is now a prospect in the Columbus Blue Jackets' system.

Fortier said one of the players he patterns his game after is Brendan Gallagher, a 5-9 forward for the Canadiens who plays bigger than his size.

"He's not the biggest guy on the ice, but he's not scared to go in the corner against the 6-foot-4 guys," Fortier said. "He works hard every shift.  This year, Montreal had a rough year, but everyone was talking about him and how he was working every night. I think it's a good comparison with me."

The Lightning didn't have a first-round pick because they traded it to the Rangers as part of the February trade for defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller.

Tampa Bay has its regular picks in the second through seventh round today, as well as a second pick in the seventh (final) round.

THIRD ROUND: The Lightning shifted to defense in the third round, selecting Dmitry Semykin, a 6-foot-3, 191-pound prospect from Stupino in Russia's Minor Hockey League.

Semykin, 18, showed some scoring potential with Stupino last season, with eight goals and seven assists in 41 games. He also had 118 penalty minutes, nearly twice as much as his closest teammate.

FOURTH ROUND: Tampa Bay goes the college route, taking Cornell defenseman Alex Green in the fourth. He had two goals and eight assists as a  freshman last season on a team that went 25-6-2 and reached NCAA regionals.

FIFTH ROUND: Goalie! The Lightning take goalie Magnus Chrona of Sweden in the fifth round. He's only 17, listed at 6-4 and 209 pounds.

SIXTH ROUND: Back on offense, the Lightning take forward Cole Koepke, who played for Sioux City of the USHL last season. He scored 28 goals and 11 assists in 60 games last season, and is committed to play at Minnesota-Duluth, which just won a national championship in April.

"I'm a bigger forward, more of a power forward," Koepke told reporters in Dallas at the draft, asked to describe his game. "I do things on the penalty kill and forechecking and getting pucks to the net and getting out front and using my size to my advantage."

SEVENTH ROUND: The Lightning had two picks, and came away with Radim Salda, a 19-year-old defenseman from Czech Republic, and Ty Taylor, an 18-year-old goalie from British Columbia.

Salda had 10 goals and 31 assists for Saint John in juniors last season; Taylor played for Vernon in the British Columbia Hockey League.

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