Jonathan Drouin: 'I definitely want to be here'
The relationship between wing Jonathan Drouin and the Lightning seemingly has been salvaged.
Drouin, 21, who requested a trade in November before a six-week holdout, indicated that demand is off the table, saying he expects to be back in Tampa Bay next season and beyond.
"I definitley want to be here," Drouin said. "I love the way this ended, I guess with this different and weird year. But the way this finished and it's definitely somewhere I want to play."
Drouin, who returned to AHL Syracuse after the Feb. 29 trade deadline passed, was one of the biggest stars in the postseason, with five goals and nine assists in 17 games. He's shown why the Lightning drafted him No. 3 overall in 2013.
The Lightning was under no obligation to trade Drouin, who won't be a restricted free agent until after next season. And GM Steve Yzerman certainly isn't planning to.
"He makes us a better team, it's as simple as that," Yzerman said. "What he showed me, I think the best thing for this team right now is Jonathan Drouin on it."
More from today's exit interviews:
*Goalie Ben Bishop revealed that his injury was a strain to his left ankle/shin area, not necessarily a high ankle sprain, but enough discomfort where it made it difficult for him to go into a butterfly position. He admitted even Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final would have been a longshot of returning. But Bishop said the injury won't impact his offseason training.
*Drouin was added to the Under-23 North American team for the World Cup of Hockey this September in Toronto. Wing Ryan Callahan was added to the U.S. team.
*Yzerman said, due to the cap or expansion, he'll eventually have to make a decision on his future No. 1 goalie between Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy. But Yzerman feels they're in "fantastic position," and didn't rule out starting next season with both on the team.
*Yzerman said his priority his summer is the Lightning's free agents, which includes Stamkos to RFA's Nikita Kucherov, J.T. Brown, Vladislav Namestnikov, Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Marchessault (UFA). And after that, there won't likely be room for anything "significant" in free agency. He'd like to address the power play and scoring depth, but admitted those answers might have to come internally.
*Yzerman said there may be one or two guys that need a procedure done this offseason, but won't know more until all physicals are done.