Drouin has mended his relationship with the Lightning, expressing his desire to remain with the team, the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I definitely want to be here," Drouin said. Drouin, Tampa's third overall draft selection in 2013, had an interesting season, to say the least. He sustained a lower-body injury in late October, requested to be traded in November, and ultimately was demoted to the minors. That didn't sit well with the talented center as he refused to report for an AHL game and was slapped with a suspension for his unwillingness to play, though the ban would end up getting lifted. Despite only appearing in 21 regular-season games in which he produced four goals and six assists, the slick-passing forward was called up in time for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He really took off offensively in the postseason and finished with 14 points, the third-highest output on the team. Drouin has one year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $894,167 before he'll become a restricted free agent. He has tremendous sleeper appeal heading into 2016-17 now that he seems happy with his role with the Bolts.
Drouin scored the lone goal for the Lightning to go along with two PIM and four hits during Thursday's 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. If you watched the entirety of Drouin's playoff run, you probably wouldn't guess he spent a decent chunk of the season with AHL Syracuse. In 21 games played with Tampa Bay this year, the winger notched four goals and six helpers. However, the 21-year-old came alive in the postseason, totaling five markers and nine apples in just 17 outings. Drouin is poised for an increased role next year after his productive stretch during the playoffs.
Drouin scored for the second game in a row in Monday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins in Game 2. The goal brings the 2013 first-overall pick up to 11 points in 12 playoff games this year, which is quite an achievement after he spent all but 21 games in the AHL this season. Monday also marked the fourth time this postseason that Drouin has received over 19 minutes of ice time (19:37), so he's very much being relied upon to deliver the goods for a Tampa club missing superstar captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot).
Drouin took a hard hit to the head in the second period of Tuesday's game and was put through concussion protocol before returning to the game in the third period. He set up the game-tying goal against the Islanders upon his return. He had been carrying the puck down the right wing and made a move at the blue line to cut toward center. Isles' defender Thomas Hickey had Drouin in the trolley tracks and hit him hard, snapping his head back abruptly. He returned in the third and was on the ice late with Ben Bishop pulled. Drouin's remarkable vision and passing skills found Nikita Kucherov who made no mistake on the tying goal. Drouin has had a great postseason and may be in the midst of changing the Bolts' long-term view of him.
Drouin was dynamite on the man advantage as the Lightning took a 3-1 series lead after winning Game 4 on Tuesday. The Lightning raved about how good Drouin looked after his team-imposed suspension and they weren't kidding. Despite getting all three points came on the power-play, Drouin registered the first assist on two occasions, and used his speed and stickhandling to create space on offense. More astute poolies would've bought low on Drouin in playoff pools. Without Steven Stamkos (blood clot), the Lightning will be looking to get offense from Drouin and Nikita Kucherov.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||46||4||17||21||2||2||0||1||10||10||56.7|