Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin Determined To Make An Impact Next Season


Tampa Bay Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin may not have had the breakout rookie season that many had hoped for, but he is definitely prepared to make a bigger impact next season.

Ever since he was drafted in the First Round (3rd Overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Jonathan Drouin had the weight of the world on his shoulders. People here in the Bolts Nation had some pretty lofty goals for the young winger. Unfortunately, things don’t always go the way they are planned.

After being passed up for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s main roster in his first official season with the Bolts, it seemed as if Jonathan Drouin had something to prove. Drouin came into Rookie Training Camp with a blazing passion that led to him catching the eye of both Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman and Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper.

It seemed as if he was destined for great things in the 2014-15 season when the most unfortunate series of events came into play. While doing some two-on-two work in the corner of the ice, Drouin lost his balance and came down on his hand in a most awkward position. After being evaluated further, it was revealed that he had slightly fractured his thumb. Unfortunately, this meant that he would miss between 3-4 weeks; including the Tampa Bay Lightning Home Opener.

Before making his way to the main roster, the young winger was sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, to condition himself before making his National Hockey League debut. In his very first game with the Syracuse Crunch, Drouin was able to net the Game Winning Goal. Not a bad way to start out your career, if you ask us.

Drouin was able to net his first NHL point in his second game of the season as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames in overtime. In the very next game, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-2, Drouin would score his very first NHL goal.

This is where things seemingly went downhill for the young Quebec native. While Drouin was able to register a number of assists over the course of the next twenty games, it would take all twenty of those games before Drouin would once again find the back of the net. After that, it would be another forty-three games before he would once again light the lamps.

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When all was said and done and the regular season had come to an end, Drouin played in a total of 70 games in which time he was able to score a mere 4 goals and 28 assists. This gave Drouin a total of 32 points to accompany a plus-3 rating. This is a far cry from the 41 and 29 goal seasons he was having with the Halifax Mooseheads.

There are many people here in the Bolts Nation who believe that Jonathan Drouin is simply not the player that they thought he was and feel as if Yzerman should find another home for him; whether it be with the Syracuse Crunch or another NHL team. While there are definitely justifications for both arguments in the matter, there is one person who has been harder on him than anyone else possibly could be…himself.

Steve Yzerman said that the experience that Drouin received by playing last season and during the Lightning’s successful run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs provided some excellent experience for him, and that Drouin’s attitude and determination will lead him to success in the 2015-16 season.

"“For Jonathan, being in the NHL, being around the pros, he still played a fair number of games and he got a little bit of ice time in the playoffs, it’s all good experience for him,” Yzerman said via the Tampa Bay Lightning’s official site. “He’ll be better next year because his attitude is I’m going to make it no matter what and I’m going to be a good player no matter what. He’s got the right attitude.”"

This season could be a defining season for the twenty year old Quebec native. He is now eligible to be sent to the Syracuse Crunch should his performance not be up to par once the Tampa Bay Lightning take the ice at the Amalie Arena for the Lightning Home Opener. At the same time, if Yzerman’s assessment of Drouin is on point, he will be doing everything within his power to not give them a reason to even consider a move.

While we can totally understand how someone could feel the way they do about Jonathan Drouin’s performance thus far, some people fail to realize just how new he really is and the difference in the level of play between the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the National Hockey League. Given a little more time to develop, Jonathan Drouin could turn into the offensive weapon this young Tampa Bay Lightning team needs.

What kind of an impact do you think Jonathan Drouin will have on the Tampa Bay Lightning this season? Do you think he has the potential to become an offensive weapon for the Lightning or do you think there is the possibility of a short-term visit to Syracuse? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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