Braydon Coburn will return from injury for the Lightning in Game 1 against Detroit tonight, but prized rookie Jonathan Drouin looks as though he’ll be dropped from the lineup.
Those were two of the big developments out of Tampa Bay this morning. Coburn, sidelined since Mar. 10 with a lower-body ailment, will play just his fifth game in a Bolts uniform after being acquired from Philly at the Mar. 2 trade deadline, an important returnee for a blueline that’s missing Jason Garrison.
For Drouin, the news is less positive.
With a wealth of talent up front and all forwards healthy, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper will sit the 20-year-old in what would be his first-ever Stanley Cup playoff game. Cooper will opt to roll with an “energy” unit as his fourth line — Brenden Morrow, Brian Boyle and J.T. Brown — and apparently doesn’t want to insert Drouin in the top three lines at the risk of disrupting chemistry:
Alex Killorn-Steven Stamkos-Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat-Tyler Johnson-Nikita Kucherov
Vladislav Namestnikov-Valtteri Filppula-Cedric Paquette
That said, it’s highly likely we see Drouin at some point in the playoffs given how much he played during the regular season. The third overall pick at the ’13 Draft appeared in 70 games and racked up 32 points, averaging over 13 minutes per night.