It was Thursday night June 23rd at around 7:30 p.m. eastern time and TampaBay G.M. Paul Lamarche arrived at the door step of NEFHL commish J.D. Barry's ready for the first round of the 2011 entry draft. "It's a rare occassion to sit down in person with fellow g.m.'s of this league" Lamarche said, "I was really looking forward to obviously make our first round pick which was sitting at number 13, but to also sit down and talk hockey with the great hockey minds this league has."
At number 13 the lightning selected Joel Armia of Finland making it back to back seasons that the lightning have selected a prospect from Finland with their 1st round draft pick. When asked if this was going to become a theme for the lightning on draft day Lamarche had this to say: " It is kind of funny that this has happened 2 years in a row but to be completely honest, we were looking for a big talented goal scorer and if Armia would've been canadian, american, swedish hell even chinese and we would've taken this kid. I guess it does in a way work out though as there will be some instant chemistry in the near future probably as him and Granlund have played together in the past."
After that pick, the lightning were not selecting again until late in the 2nd round 57th overall, a pick they had gotten from the devils earlier on in the season. At number 57, the lightning selected Markus Granlund who is in fact the younger brother of last years first round pick Mikael Granlund. "I was actually joking with a couple of other g.m.'s before the draft started that I was going to be taking him in the 2nd round to play with his brother but never actually thought he would drop to 57. When we saw that he was still there, we somewhat hesitated between him and another guy we had planned on taking but in the end couldn't pass up on the kid".
To finish of the draft the lightning had three 4th rounders, one 5th and 6th rounder remaining and they were: at 91st overall Andrew Fritsch, at 103rd overall Michael Paliotta, at 108th Jesse Forsberg, at 126th overall David Honzik and at 157 Henri Auvinen. When asked which one of these guys he thought had the best chance to do something significant in the nefhl, lamarche had this to say: " We would not have drafted any of the these guys if we didn't think that long term they may have a shot at playing with our big club but the best chance would have to be Andrew Fritsch. He's a great offensive minded LW'er with very high hockey IQ that we feel and one day play on the lightning 2nd line!