EDMONTON — Forward Jonathan Drouin likely knew this weekend's games with AHL Syracuse would be big ones for him, his first action since his November trade request was made public Sunday.
And Drouin, 20, did himself and the Lightning a lot of good by dazzling Friday night, scoring two goals in the first period of a 6-4 loss to host Albany. Drouin played center on the top line, finishing with five shots in just over 18 minutes of playing time. Approximately 10 scouts from NHL teams, including the Rangers and Kings, were in attendance.
Drouin, the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2013 by the Lightning, has drawn a lot of interest around the league, though GM Steve Yzerman has insisted he won't make a deal just because one was requested. It has to be the right fit. "I'll do what's best for the club," Yzerman said Friday.
Drouin had been sent to Syracuse last week to get playing time, having appeared in just 19 NHL games this season due to lower-body injuries. Friday was just his second game since Dec. 10. He was scheduled to play for the Crunch tonight in Syracuse and Sunday in Rochester.
It's no secret the Lightning has been scouting the Blues heavily. Yzerman and assistant GM Pat Verbeek were at Monday's St. Louis game against Ottawa. Yzerman and Verbeek each caught a Blues game last month. The Lightning is in the market for a right-shot defenseman, preferably one to help quarterback the power play, and the Blues have Kevin Shattenkirk, 26, who is "in play" in the trade market, ESPN reported.
WORLD CUP TALK: With the Lightning in Edmonton to play the Oilers on Friday, coach Jon Cooper got together Thursday night with Oilers coach Todd McLellan, with whom he'll share the bench at September's World Cup of Hockey tournament.
In the eight-team tournament, Cooper is on McLellan's staff for the team to be made up of players 24 and younger from North America. The two wanted to compare notes on players they've seen.
The coaches have been crossing paths since the late 1980s, when McLellan played for the Islanders and Cooper was at Hofstra.
"(Cooper is) a tremendous coach," McLellan said. "He brings a youthful energy to the game and to the team, and we are going to be an under-24 team (at the World Cup), so we're going to need that. So I think there's a lot of real positive attributes that he can bring."
When asked about the potential candidacy of Drouin for the team, McLellan said he hadn't seen the forward play enough for a true evaluation. "He's a tremendous player," McLellan said.
NUTS AND BOLTS: RW Ryan Callahan, who left Tuesday's game against the Flames with a lower-body injury, played Friday. RW Jonathan Marchessault was scratched, allowing RW Erik Condra, scratched the past three games, to get in the lineup. D Matt Carle was scratched for the second straight game and the seventh time this season. … Syracuse D Anthony DeAngelo, the Lightning's 2014 first-round draft pick, was scratched against Albany as a "coach's decision," coach Rob Zettler said. … Three Syracuse players — C Mike Angelidis, G Kristers Gudlevskis and D Matt Taormina — made the AHL All-Star Game on Feb. 1 in Syracuse.
Lightning at Canucks
When/where: 10, Rogers Arena, Vancouver
TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun
Key stats: The Lightning won both meetings between the teams last season. … The Canucks had a 2-1 victory in Tampa on Dec. 22 when Tampa Bay went 1-for-10 on the power play. … Vancouver entered Friday 25th on the power play at 16.7 percent and 24th in scoring, averaging 2.37 goals. … The Canucks are led by the Sedin twins, Daniel (38 points) and Henrik (34 points). … G Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to start for Tampa Bay.