What's Buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Tampa Bay Lightning on Jonathan Drouin possibly returning to Halifax: ‘It’s not the end of the world’

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo

.

Jonathan Drouin scored a shootout winner for Tampa earlier in preseason (The Associated Press)

By the end of last season, Jonathan Drouin had shown that he was doing anything but riding shotgun alongside teammate Nathan MacKinnon in Halifax before they became the first and third choices in the NHL draft.

While MacKinnon's junior days are done, it's worth mulling whether Drouin might end up returning to Halifax. The Tampa Bay Lightning's trial with him as a centre ran its course, with the Bolts putting him back at his more familiar left wing spot, alongside Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, during their last exhibition game. The club still has two preseason games left before it decides how to proceed. Reading between the lines, it sounds like a safe bet Drouin makes it to opening night, but beyond that ...

From Damian Cristodero:

Whether Drouin is with Tampa Bay or Halifax of the junior Quebec league, "mostly we want him playing," general manager Steve Yzerman said. "It's not the end of the world if a player has to go back (to juniors). But we certainly want to give him every opportunity before making that decision."

... The left wing has shown flashes of the puck skills and vision that caused [Tampa Bay coach Jon] Cooper to say "his upside is endless." But there have been growing pains.

Drouin said he knew the speed of the game would be greater, but he still is not completely acclimated. He knew players would be stronger and acknowledged, "They're bigger in the corner, so it's harder to play." (St. Petersburg Times)

It's not a race to see who gets his NHL foothold first. Drouin's gifts are self-evident, but even with two deep playoff runs, a world junior tournament and a Memorial Cup experience on his C.V., he's still played fewer than 135 junior games. That seems rather thin for someone who's ready to play in the NHL. For sake of cherry-picked comparison, Sean Monahan, who's extended his stay with the Calgary Flames, has played more than 210 games as a junior player. Talent, ideally, win out eventuallys. When players are 18 and 19, physical maturity and experience are going to be weighted more heavily.

It basically boils down to whether Tampa Bay believes it has enough basis for a decision after the next two fake games. Drouin has made much more out of smaller windows to impress, like he did last December with Team Canada.

By the way, 'You Drouined My Life' is a great fantasy hockey team name if you still have your draft.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

View Comments (0)
  • England have potential to rule world - Hoggard

    England have potential to rule world - Hoggard

    By Tony Jimenez COVENTRY, England (Reuters) - England possess so much strength in depth that captain Alastair Cook's side have the potential to dominate world cricket for years to come, according to former Ashes-winning fast bowler Matthew Hoggard. … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Rosberg fastest in practice, Hamilton summoned by stewards

    Rosberg fastest in practice, Hamilton summoned by stewards

    By Abhishek Takle HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg completed a clean sweep of practice for his home German Formula One Grand Prix by topping the timesheets ahead of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in Saturday’s final session. … More »

    Reuters - 18 minutes ago
  • Rosberg fastest in practise, Hamilton summoned by stewards

    Rosberg fastest in practise, Hamilton summoned by stewards

    By Abhishek Takle HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg completed a clean sweep of practise for his home German Formula One Grand Prix by topping the timesheets ahead of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in Saturday’s final session. … More »

    Reuters - 20 minutes ago
  • Gameiro joins Atletico Madrid on four-year deal

    Gameiro joins Atletico Madrid on four-year deal

    (Reuters) - French striker Kevin Gameiro has joined Atletico Madrid on a four-year deal from fellow La Liga side Sevilla, the Champions League finalists said on Saturday. The 29-year-old scored 67 goals in three years at Sevilla and though no … More »

    Reuters - 48 minutes ago
  • Nico Rosberg fastest in final practice for German GP

    Nico Rosberg fastest in final practice for German GP

    Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in the final practice for the German Grand Prix, leading Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by a narrow .057 seconds ahead of Saturday's qualifying. Two-time defending world champion Hamilton has won five of the last … More »

    AP - Sports - 53 minutes ago