Thursday, April 7, 2016

Watch: Jonathan Drouin Scores in his Tampa Return

It didn't take Jonathan Drouin very long to get in the swing of things with his old team on Thursday at the Rock in New Jersey.

The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game since December 30, notched his third goal of the season, and registered four shots on goal in 15:41 of ice time in Tampa's 4-2 victory over the Devils.

Drouin has been one of the most talked-about players in the NHL this season. He requested a trade and was eventually demoted to the AHL, where he has remained. The trade deadline came and went, and though there were many suitors, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman couldn't find the deal he wanted for the skilled forward.

Drouin, who was suspended from the AHL club in January for failing to show up in a game, had his suspension lifted in March. More recently, he has caught fire, scoring nine goals in his last nine games. That appears to be a fortunate occurrence now, as the Lightning roster has been decimated as the playoffs approach (Steven Stamkos, Anton Stralman, Victor Hedman and Ryan Callahan are all injured). Drouin could give the team a much-needed dose of scoring punch, and he could also help strengthen Yzerman's hand if the team wishes to deal him in the off-season.