On the bright side, Tampa Bay is getting Drouin back


The Lightning needed some good news after learning captain Steve Stamkos would be out at least four months following knee surgery.

On Thursday, they got some.

Jonathan Drouin, who’s missed the last seven games with an upper-body injury, will draw back into the lineup tonight when the Bolts take on the Sabres in Buffalo, per the Tampa Bay Times.

Drouin has been out since absorbing a big Calvin de Haan hit in a Nov. 1 win over the Isles. He was off to a solid-if-unspectacular start prior to getting hurt, scoring two goals and five points through 10 games, averaging 16:35 TOI per night.

With Stamkos out, the Lightning have been forced to shuffle their forwards, so it looks as though Drouin will slot in alongside Ryan Callahan and center Valtteri Filppula, on what would amount to the third line.

Vladislav Namestnikov will center the top unit between Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, while Tyler Johnson will play the middle on the second line with Alex Killorn and Brayden Point.

Based on those lines alone, one thing should be obvious: Tampa Bay is equipped to deal with losing someone of Stamkos’ caliber better than nearly any other NHL club.