Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Jonathan Drouin 'definitely' wants to stay with Lightning (w/ video)

TAMPA — The relationship between RW Jonathan Drouin and the Lightning has seemingly been salvaged.

Drouin, 21, who requested a trade in November before a six-week holdout in January, indicated Friday that demand is off the table and he expects to be back in Tampa Bay next season and beyond.

"I definitely want to be here," Drouin said a day after the Lightning's season ended with a Game 7 loss to the Penguins in the Eastern Conference final.

"I love the way this ended, I guess, with this different and weird year. … It's definitely somewhere I want to play."

Drouin, who ended his holdout and returned to AHL Syracuse after the Feb. 29 trade deadline, was one of the league's top stories in the postseason, with five goals and nine assists in 17 games. GM Steve Yzerman said Drouin was a big reason the Lightning reached Game 7 of the conference final.

The Lightning was under no obligation to trade Drouin, who isn't a restricted free agent until after next season, and it doesn't intend 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."

BISHOP UPDATE: G Ben Bishop revealed that the left leg injury he suffered in Game 1 of the conference final was a strain to his left ankle/shin area, giving him enough discomfort where he didn't feel good enough during butterfly movements to play.

"I wouldn't have been effective," Bishop said. "We were getting close. Maybe Game 1 (of the Stanley Cup final). It would have been a stretch, could have tried. I was probably another week or so before I was able to play with the pain."

Bishop said the injury won't affect his offseason training or availability for training camp.

WORLD CUP: Drouin was added to the North American team for the World Cup of Hockey in September in Toronto; Lightning coach Jon Cooper is on the staff of the team of players 23 and younger. RW Ryan Callahan was added to the U.S. team, giving the Lightning 12 players in the tournament.

FREE AGENCY: Yzerman said his priority this summer is the Lightning's free agents, who include unrestricted C Steven Stamkos and restricted free-agent forwards Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, J.T. Brown, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette. RW Jonathan Marchessault is an unrestricted free agent.

After dealing with them, Yzerman said, there won't likely be room for adding anything "significant" in free agency, which opens July 1. He would like to address the power play and scoring depth but said answers to those issues might have to come internally due to the salary cap.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Yzerman said one or two players might need a medical procedure done this offseason but he wouldn't know more until all physicals are done.

Comments
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