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Lightning send 2013 first-rounder Drouin back to junior

Sep 29, 2013, 1:58 PM EST

Jonathan Drouin, Kris Versteeg AP

Tampa Bay’s 2013 first-round pick won’t be winning the Calder Trophy this year.

The Lightning announced they’re sending third overall pick Jonathan Drouin back to his junior team in Halifax. Just yesterday we shared here how GM Steve Yzerman had a difficult decision on whether to keep their hot prospect or send him back. Clearly the team feels it’s better for his development to head back to the QMJHL.

Some fans may get critical of the move, but it’s one that can work out and the Lightning just need to look across the state for a prime example of that.

Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t join the Panthers immediately after being drafted in 2011, but he turned his first NHL season last year into a Calder Trophy-winning one. Lightning fans may want to see just what they got for such a bad season last year but they’ll have to be patient.

As for Drouin, the rest of the QMJHL should be terrified to see him back after the numbers he put up last season (41-64-105) in 49 games.

  1. jb8588 - Sep 29, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Although I’m disappointed Drouin isn’t going to be with the Bolts this season, it comes to show the forward depth the Bolts have. Now to somehow get rid of Malone so Brett Connolly can have a spot too.

    • joey4id - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      Hmmm. I think it shown the kid is not ready to play with the big boys. Kind of surprised considering the season the bolts had last year, and not surprised when comparing him to McKinnon.

  2. colby7 - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Typical Detroit prospect development strategy that Yzerman has brought with him. Only problem is this isn’t Detroit and they could atleast give the kid a shot for a few games and not burn the first year of his contract.

  3. ctcork - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    It’s a shame he’s not in the AHL, he doesn’t have a lot left to learn in the QMJHL. I would’ve preferred to at least give him a couple of games of experience before sending him down.

  4. tdesimone - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I don’t see how Drouin can develop in QMJHL. He killed the league last year. He can only get better against playing better players. Stupid move.

    • desertfan - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      Two things:

      1- Players are not allowed to go to AHL or any pro teams unless they are 20 .

      2- Tough decision but 20 mins per game under all situations in the CHL is way better for growth than spot duty in the NHL.

      • joey4id - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:41 PM

        I don’t think you correct. An 18 or 19 year old drafted after year 1 or year 2 of the draft can be sent to an affiliate team, but must first be offered to the team he was drafted for, or whatever team owns his rights after said draft. At least that’s how I interpreted the NHLPA CBA.

      • hystoracle - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        desertfan is correct. Must be 20 years or older or have played 4 years in junior. The rule is in place because of the agreement between the NHL and CHL. AHL was not an available option for Drouin.

    • pfhockey - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      The only choice, have you even watched him play? Though I would have gave him a few games but it’s evident defensively he’s not ready.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Because the #1 thing Drouin needs is time to fill out a bit. Why play him against men in the AHL? No no, I tell you nobody is Halifax is overly surprised Drouin is back. Kid needs to gain 5-10 lbs and allow his body to mature a bit more. Another season in the Q gets it done.
      All you need to do is look at Adam Henrique and Ryan Nuggett-Hopkins and realize that erring on the side of caution is the smart play for the Bolts.

      • themagicman1223 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        He can’t play in the AHL…

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:16 PM

        Even better, then what are people complaining about?

  5. pfhockey - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    I’m frustrated as much as Yzerman is with this move, If players could be moved into the AHL, it wouldn’t be a big deal. The main point is that I don’t think Drouin has anything else to prove in the Juniors but isn’t ready for the NHL. That is why I really respect Yzerman for taking the bullet for GMs on allowing players to jump straight into the AHL. A STUPID rule that could possibly stagnate a player. I think Yzerman’s move was the best one available, Drouin didn’t play very well and while his skill is evident, he surely is lacking confidence and isn’t quite adjusted to playing in the show. Though he could still tweak out matters of his game, it’s better for the team to play those 9 games as a sure team rather than circling around amends for Drouin. Look at what happened to Connolly, Yzerman rushed him intentionally because he didn’t believe in sending players back to Juniors due to stagnation, history shows, Yzerman with a smart move this time, hopefully connolly could crack the roster since he has been playing VERY WELL past season and scoring about a goal per game in the preseason. Next year we’ll be waiting for Drouin…

  6. pfhockey - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Plus, now we can see how well he’ll play w/o MacKinnon.

  7. themagicman1223 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    @joey4id Players who come from the CHL aren’t allowed to play in the AHL until they’re 20. Although some 18 year olds can play in the AHL, take Zemgus Girgensons as an example. He came from the USHL which is in the United States therefore he is eligible to play in the AHL when he wants.

  8. lordfletcher - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    I think it is time for the NHL needs to re-look at this deal of theirs with the CHL. I understand how it benefits both leagues (more CHL than NHL) and the NHL doesn’t want to upset their farm system like how the NFL lets the NCAA handle their business …. but this agreement really hurts a club or two each year. The inability to not send the player to the clubs farm team in the AHL makes no sense to me. CHL fans won’t be hurt because they can’t see a fourth year from their favorite teams player, they’re just kids and another one is always waiting on the bench.

    For the Wild, not being able to send Dumba to Iowa hurts because he is development playing against kids makes no sense as a big hitting D-man. Dumba a MAN, can level boys…

    No doubt in my mind having Drouin go elsewhere than the NHL is a smart move, just sucks its not the AHL for a late season call up if need be.

    best of luck bolts!

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