Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning coaches try wing Drouin at center

TAMPA — Jonathan Drouin was not the only Lightning player getting looks at different positions Thursday.

"We're going to try players out in different situations," coach Jon Cooper said.

But Drouin was June's No. 3 overall draft pick. So when the natural left wing took shifts at center between Vlad Namestnikov and Brett Connolly, it raised some eyebrows.

"We're taking a look," Cooper said. "Maybe the fit for us in our organization is the wing, maybe it's at center. We're giving him a look in both spots just to see where he can fit."

Drouin, 18, seemed to fit well at center during a game at last weekend's prospects tournament in Coral Springs, and Cooper said of Thursday's workout, "He looked great."

As for Drouin, he said beyond needing to be "a little bit more responsible in the defensive zone," playing center "is not much of a change" from left wing.

"I'll just try to adjust to that and see where they want me to play," said Drouin, who said he played center with Halifax of the junior Quebec league only when linemate Nathan MacKinnon (June's No. 1 overall draft pick by Colorado) was injured. "Wherever they put me, I'm fine."

STICK DRILL: The highlight of the defensive zone drills was the defending players using the butt ends of their sticks on the ice instead of their blades.

"We were just caring that when guys can't handle the puck, their body position has to be in the right spot or they're really in trouble," Cooper said. "We just found it was a useful tool."

Especially because the Lightning, with 425 goals allowed the past two seasons, is the only NHL team to have given up at least 400. "We have to shore that up," Cooper said. "It takes a team to do it."

SCHEDULE: Today's workouts are closed to the public. Fan Fest is 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Limited parking is available for season ticket holders. Otherwise, it is not provided.

LINE DANCING: No surprise, wings Marty St. Louis and Ryan Malone were paired with C Steven Stamkos. … C Valtteri Filppula was with Alex Killorn and Teddy Purcell.

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