Lightning weighing decision heavily to keep Drouin

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have a big decision on their hands with 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Drouin. Will he stay or will he go back to juniors?

Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune hears from GM Steve Yzerman about what they’re thinking about most when it comes to their top pick.

“Mostly, we want him playing. And if he’s not going to play regular (in the NHL), I want him playing. I don’t really have a timetable on it because we do have the luxury …to stagger their games and delay it for as long as you really want. So, it’s not like we are under a time crunch or anything.”

The Lightning, like any team with a player who’s junior eligible, can have Drouin play in nine games before making a decision. If he plays in more than that, they’ll burn the first year of his contract.

Drouin comes to Tampa with high expectations and a lot of talent. That said, sometimes it takes time for guys to be ready. At 18 years old, he may not be totally ready to go. Expect him to get a long look through at least his first nine games before a decision is made.

Related: Drouin: ‘Exciting’ to play with Stamkos, St. Louis on Bolts’ top line