Drouin (upper body) shelved at Bolts camp


Jonathan Drouin’s bid to crack the Tampa Bay roster took a bit of a hit on Monday:

Drouin, the 19-year-old taken third overall at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, hasn’t practiced for the last three days and his status for the start of the preseason remains unclear. The Bolts open their campaign on Tuesday against Nashville, play the Preds again on Thursday evening, then wrap their week with a game against the Stars on Friday — so if Drouin is held out for the next four days, he’d miss three games, which isn’t an insignificant amount of time.

“What’s bothering him, once it gets better, it won’t bother him again,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said of Drouin’s injury, per the Tampa Bay Times. “It shouldn’t be a long-term lingering thing.”

While many expect the former QMJHL Halifax standout to be in the NHL this year, the Lightning have said repeatedly they won’t rush Drouin. What’s more, the club has a wealth of talent up front and some touted youngsters — like Brett Connolly and Vladislav Namestnikov — are looking to make the leap as well. They could shine in Drouin’s absence.