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Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's 2nd draft pick is Richard Panik

Tribune Correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 12:29 AM

With only one pick in the first two rounds of day two at the NHL Draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed to make it worthwhile.

With the 52nd pick, the Lightning selected forward Richard Panik from Trinec of the Czech Junior league. While Panik had to wait a little longer than most had projected, he was delighted to be coming to Tampa.

"I'm very happy," Panik said with a smile on his face but in rather broken English. "Tampa is a great team, [especially] to its young people and young players and I am very happy."

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward is another highly skilled winger who should fit right into Tampa's young developing offensive core.

"I think I am a great scorer. I know I can score goals," he said.

Panik had a tough past year as he suffered both a knee injury and a broken his collarbone. Despite the injuries, which he says are now 100 percent, Panik put up 19 points in 16 games while compiling 88 PIM.

While some scouts have knocked his ability to play the grittier North American style, Panik's next move should go a long way to developing this aspect of his game.

In the fall, Panik is headed to the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, who just happen to be the reigning Memorial Cup champions.

"[In Windsor] I can play a Canadian style because it is faster and harder."

Sounds like he's ready to improve himself and make a difference in Tampa sooner than some may think.

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