There never was a question that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin is among the most talented players on the team’s roster. Since being recalled from the minors just prior to the end of the regular season, Drouin has been one of the best players for the Lightning, and he has filled a huge void left by the injury to Steven Stamkos and helped the team reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
The 21-year-old Drouin scored two goals in his last two regular season games. In the first round victory over the Detroit Red Wings, Drouin had four assists, three of which came in the Lightning’s 3-2 win in Game 4. Against the New York Islanders, Drouin found the back of the net once and notched another four assists. In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he has two goals in two games so far.
It isn’t just the stats, though his 11 points through 12 games are good for third on the team. Drouin has been playing a much better all-around game. He has played well in the corners and displayed an edge he didn’t have before he was sent to the minors this season and had a falling out with management. There were rumors the Lightning would trade Drouin, but they never got an offer they liked. The decision to keep him has paid off in the playoffs.
The Lightning needed someone, or rather a few players, to step up with Stamkos out and Drouin has been just what the doctor ordered for the Lightning. The Lightning have seen what Drouin is capable of, both with and without the puck, and have to be encouraged moving forward. Drouin might finally be putting it all together and could be ready to take his place among the top forwards and one of the most exciting playmakers in the league.