Recent picks have moved the Lightning up to a C but they didn't start the decade well. Evgeny Artyukhin was an OK 3rd rounder in 2001, and 2002s Paul Ranger in the 6th and Freddy Norrena in the 7th isn't much to brag about. Coming out of 2003s loaded draft the Lightning only managed Matt Smaby in the 2nd and Nick Tarnasky in the 9th. They had no first rounders those year, and had the 30th pick, last of the first round, in 2004 and 2005, which only amounted to Andy Rogers and Vlad Mihailk. 2006s pick of Riku Hulenius at 15th wasn't great.
In 2007 though the Lightning made good depth picks in Johan Harju who is on a point per game pace with Norfolk in the AHL, and Alex Kilorn who's a point per game this year at Harvard.
2008 was a gift. These guys were seeing Stamkos from October, and although Barry Melrose thought his minutes should be reduced apparently that was enough for the shaky ownership group to significanlty reduce Barry's. After a coaching change Stamkos had a great second half to his rookie campaign and came back with a vengeance to tie for the Richard Trophy in his sophomore year, which he might just win out-right in 2010-11. Overlooked was the smart selection of James Wright in the 4th who played over 40 games in the NHL in his draft year.
2009 was another high pick, taking Victor Hedman second overall and he's looking better every game. Taking Carter Ashton 29th that year was a bonus. Power forwards can be a project and Ashton is no different, but he's filling out fast and looking ready to dominate a year in the AHL next season, ditto for Richard Panik taken in the second. Brett Connolly was taken 6th overall last year and he is part of a very good core of up and coming young forwards.