While the Vegas Golden Knights are set to put together their inaugural roster in just a few days, it has been 25 years since the Tampa Bay Lightning conducted their expansion draft prior to the 1992-93 season.
The Lightning and Ottawa Senators, who joined the league the same year, each chose 21 players – two goaltenders, seven defensemen, and 12 forwards. The pickings were slim, as teams were allowed to protect two netminders and 14 skaters each (the second-year San Jose Sharks were exempt from the expansion draft).
The Lightning made out considerably better than their Canadian brethren, winning 23 games while compiling 53 points in their inaugural season. Brian Bradley was the offensive catalyst, scoring an incredible 42 goals while finishing with 86 points en route to a spot in the NHL All-Star Game – his first of two consecutive All-Star appearances.
Here are the 21 players the Lightning selected in the expansion draft:
Wendell Young (selected from Pittsburgh)
Young went from backup duty in Pittsburgh to a similar role with the expansion Lighting, playing behind Pat Jablonski. He actually posted slightly better numbers, but it wasn’t enough to earn him more playing time the following season. He was dealt back to the Penguins in 1995, and played his final seven years with Chicago of the International Hockey League.
Frederic Chabot (selected from Montreal)
*Played with AHL’s Fredericton Canadiens
Montreal wasn’t thrilled with losing Chabot, so it made a deal with Tampa the day after the expansion draft and sent fellow netminder Jean-Claude Bergeron to the Lightning. Bergeron actually asserted himself well in Tampa – recording a 3.65 goals-against average in 53 career games – while Chabot appeared in just two more games with Montreal and 32 for his NHL career.
Joe Reekie (selected from N.Y. Islanders)
Reekie was a dependable defense-first blue-liner that had one of the best seasons of any Lightning player in their inaugural season. He was so good, in fact, that Tampa Bay was able to deal him to Washington for bruiser Enrico Ciccone and a pair of draft picks in a March 1994 trade. Reekie went on to play parts of nine seasons with the Capitals.
Shawn Chambers (selected from Washington)
Chambers was a revelation for Tampa Bay – at least on the offensive end. Despite finishing with the fourth-worst plus-minus on the team, he established career bests in goals and assists while leading the team in scoring among defensemen. He played parts of three seasons with the Lightning before being traded to New Jersey in March 1995.
Peter Taglianetti (selected from Pittsburgh)
Taglianetti’s bruising style complemented the Lightning’s skill players well. He not only led the team in plus-minus, but was also second in penalty minutes. But Tampa Bay decided against holding onto him, swapping him back to the Penguins in exchange for a third-round pick. Taglianetti would remain with the Pens until 1995 before wrapping up his career with Providence of the AHL.
Bob McGill (selected from Detroit)
*Played with Toronto Maple Leafs
McGill didn’t even appear in a game with the Lightning, who placed him on waivers in early September. He was subsequently claimed by the Maple Leafs, reuniting him with the team that selected him 26th overall in the 1980 draft. McGill retired as a player in 1996 with an odd statistical anomaly to his credit: He played in 49 NHL playoff games without registering a single point.
Jeff Bloemberg (selected from N.Y. Rangers)
*Played with AHL’s Cape Breton Oilers
Bloemberg was another player selected by the Lightning in the expansion draft and subsequently moved without playing a game with the team. He was sent to Edmonton for future considerations, and had a solid season with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate. But despite stints with the Hartford and Detroit organizations, Bloemberg never played in the NHL again.
Doug Crossman (selected from Quebec)
Crossman brought a veteran pedigree to Tampa, and was the team’s top blue-line point producer on a per-game basis. In January 1993, the Lightning made him the centerpiece of a deal with St. Louis that landed them promising forward Jason Ruff. But Ruff did nothing with the Lightning, while Crossman’s offense fell off a cliff in 1993-94 (nine points in 50 games played).
Rob Ramage (selected from Minnesota)
Ramage in his prime was one of the top dual-threat defensemen in hockey, capable of racking up points and rearranging opponents’ dental work. But as a 34-year-old whose best days were clearly behind him, he didn’t offer much of anything on the offensive end. Tampa dealt him to Montreal for Eric Charron, Alain Cote, and Donald Dufresne in March.
Michel Mongeau (selected from St. Louis)
Mongeau has an interesting HockeyDB page, even without much NHL content on there. He played just four games with the Lightning, spending the majority of that season in the IHL (65 points in 45 games with Peoria). That was his last NHL action, as he closed out his playing career with stints in the AHL, the Italian League, and the Quebec Senior Professional Hockey League.
Anatoli Semenov (selected from Edmonton)
Semenov came to the Lightning with plenty of promise after racking up 73 points over two seasons with the Oilers following a 10-year run with Moscow Dynamo. But he played in just 13 games with Tampa before being traded to Vancouver, and was claimed by Anaheim in its 1993 expansion draft – just over one year after being nabbed by the Lightning.
Mike Hartman (selected from Winnipeg)
Hartman provided a big part of the muscle for the expansion Lightning, collecting 154 penalty minutes over just 58 games with the team. After Tampa Bay traded him to the New York Rangers for Randy Gilhen, Hartman finished his NHL career on Broadway before spending the majority of his non-NHL time from there with the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL.
Basil McRae (selected from Minnesota)
Coming off a five-season stint with the Minnesota North Stars in which he averaged more than 313 penalty minutes per season, McRae wasn’t coming in to score 30 goals. But his time in Tampa Bay was short, as he was shipped to St. Louis as part of the transaction to acquire Ruff. Even so, he still managed 71 PIMs in just 14 games with the Lightning.
Rob DiMaio (selected from N.Y. Islanders)
DiMaio provided a nice boost in Tampa Bay’s first season. His point total jumped by 17 compared to his final year with the Islanders, though it wasn’t enough to keep him with the Lightning, as he was traded to Philadelphia the following season for Jim Cummins and a fourth-round pick. DiMaio would play 10 more NHL seasons, including a return to Tampa for his final campaign.
Dan Vincelette (selected from Chicago)
*Played with IHL’s Atlanta Knights and San Diego Gulls
Tabbed as a future power forward, Vincelette had no trouble racking up the PIMs as a pro but couldn’t match his offensive production from junior hockey. He never appeared in a game with Tampa Bay, as he was dealt to the Flyers for Steve Kasper in December 1992. Vincelette finished his career with 22 points and 155 PIMs in 27 games with Acton Vale of the QSPHL in 1996-97.
Steve Maltais (selected from Quebec)
Maltais’ NHL footprint is small – he had just nine goals and 18 assists in 120 games with five teams. But his lone season with the Lightning stands out, as it was his only NHL campaign with more than 26 games played. He was shipped out of Tampa Bay the following summer, sent to Detroit for Dennis Vial. He returned to the NHL seven years later with Columbus.
Tim Bergland (selected from Washington)
Bergland had bounced between the NHL and AHL with the Capitals organization since 1989-90 prior to being selected by the Lightning. That pattern continued in his Tampa Bay tenure, as he played 78 games with the Lightning and another 68 with the Atlanta Vipers of the IHL before being reacquired by Washington via waivers in March 1994. He retired in 1999.
Brian Bradley (selected from Toronto)
No one could have seen this coming – particularly not the Maple Leafs, for whom Bradley had scored just 10 goals in 85 games over parts of two season. Bradley’s sensational 1992-93 campaign propelled him to the first of two All-Star berths, and he finished with 300 points over 328 games as a member of the Lightning. His 42 goals stood as the team record until 2007.
Keith Osborne (selected from Toronto)
Osborne was an elite player for North Bay and Niagara Falls of the Ontario Hockey League but couldn’t match that success in the NHL, finishing with just four points in 16 games. Following several successful seasons in the IHL and UHL, he ended his playing career with the hilariously-named Macon Whoopee of the Central Hockey League in 2000-01.
Shayne Stevenson (selected from Boston)
Stevenson will go down as one of the biggest first-round busts of the 1980s. The 17th overall pick in 1989 had a promising junior career but managed just two assists in 27 career NHL games. He toiled in a variety of minor leagues until the end of his playing days in 2000-01, including a two-season stint with Port Huron and Toronto of Major League Roller Hockey.
Tim Hunter (selected from Calgary)
*Played with Quebec Nordiques
Hunter’s tenure with the expansion Lightning lasted exactly one day. He was dealt to Quebec on June 19 for future considerations that wound up being forward Martin Simard, who finished with the same number of points in a Tampa Bay uniform as Hunter did. Meanwhile, Hunter played five more NHL seasons with the Nordiques, Canucks, and Sharks.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)