Hextall on Hockey: Lightning game changer Brayden Point proves good things come in small packages

Tampa Bay Lightning centre Brayden Point (21) loses the puck to a stick-check by Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Brayden McNabb (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Jonathan McLeod was selected in the second round, 57th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The defenceman, who has never played an NHL game for Tampa Bay, was one of three players selected before the Lightning drafted Brayden Point 79th overall.

The selection would suggest the Lightning had reservations about using a top pick on the five-foot-10 forward from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. It also suggests that was the thought process of several NHL teams on the small centre who didn’t have enough speed.

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Brayden Point, a third-round draft pick, is now in the third round of the NHL playoffs and is a win away from competing for the Stanley Cup.

Point has played in 95 more NHL games than the three players the Lightning drafted prior to him combined.

Point is the frontrunner for the Conn Smythe, tied for the playoff lead in points with 25 and leading in goals with nine.

But more than that, Point is a game changer, and in the playoffs that is pivotal.

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Point is a driver, which means it’s not just about the points he’s producing — it means his line, his team, the room is missing a step without him in the lineup.

You do not win a Stanley Cup without this type of player.

Point is as important as goaltending or having a Norris-type defenceman on the blue line, all of which Tampa Bay has.

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But make no mistake: Point is the catalyst. He sparks an aggressive and offensive mindset and has the skill and the influence for an entire team to buy in.

There is no sitting back when he’s on the ice — perhaps proving the “Point” that good things come in small packages.

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