The Tampa Bay Lightning did as predicted this weekend and selected centreman Steven Stamkos with the first overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa.

Stamkos was the top-rated North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and solidified his standing as the best available player in this year’s draft with an excellent 2007-08 season. He led the Sarnia Sting with 105 points in 61 games.

“To tell you the truth right now, it’s a relief to get my name called by the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Stamkos. “I can finally throw out those ifs, and, or buts we’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks. It’s official now and I couldn’t feel better about going to a great organization like the Tampa Bay Lightning.”