The Tampa Bay Lightning have reportedly demoted third overall pick Jonathan Drouin to the AHL, which has prompted many criticisms of what should be a marquee NHL player. His pro stats certainly don’t resemble anything close to his junior numbers as a star with the Halifax Mooseheads. There’s a lot of opinion talk about him not panning out as an NHLer and simply not being good enough.
When you look at how his career has been handled by the Lightning though, I think there just might be more to the story that we’re not being told. Not being brought into the league in the season immediately after being drafted(not necessarily a bad decision), and being a healthy scratch in the playoffs the next season (a bad decision), are some things that can be responded to differently by different players. Maybe they’re right and he just needs to mature.
On the other hand, Tampa isn’t the most stable of organizations lately. A once lethal franchise with several marquee names has since been thinned out and the team has a brand new identity. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t think the long term plan for Drouin has been consistent since he was drafted back in 2013.
Sometimes a player needs answers and a clear goal to work toward, and I’m not sure Tampa is the type of organization that’s been willing to follow through and maintain the relationship.
I still think he’s good enough to if not be a franchise player, at least be a consistent contributing factor on a second line somewhere. A change of scenery and motivation would probably do him more good than another demotion at this point.