The 2015-16 season was a tumultuous one for Jonathan Drouin and the Tampa Bay Lightning. A trade request, months of drama about whether or not he would ever play for the team again, and constant trade rumors kind of hid the fact we were still dealing with an incredibly talented player that has top-line potential in the NHL.
That potential was on display when he eventually returned to the team’s lineup late in the season and into the playoffs when he was arguably one of their best player on the team’s run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
After a slow start this season, one that included an injury that sidelined him for two weeks in November, Drouin has been on a roll for the Lightning over the past week.
Including his goal on Saturday night in the Lightning’s shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers, Drouin now has eight points in his past eight games, including four goals.
This hot streak could not come at a better for the Lightning with four top players — Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan — all banged up at the moment and out of the lineup.
None of them were in the lineup on Saturday.
For as disappointing as this start has been for the Lightning this season they enter Sunday still only two points behind the Ottawa Senators for the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
They were in a similar spot exactly one year ago before going on a run that took them deep into the playoffs for the second year in a row. It is going to be a little tougher this year with Stamkos out long-term, but they still have a top-line forward in Drouin that is starting to play at a high level.