Published On: Fri, Aug 19th, 2016

Cooper: The sky's the limit for Drouin

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning never gave up on Jonathan Drouin.

Following a leaked trade request and an initial refusal to report to the club’s minor-league affiliate, it appeared that Drouin’s time in Tampa had all but evaporated.

Yet, the tide turned in the playoffs, when a recalled Drouin caught fire, tallying five goals and nine assists through 17 postseason matches – good for third in Lightning playoff scoring.

It marked a sharp contrast from Drouin’s regular-season play.

“Jonathan (Drouin) always had the talent, he just had to find his way through the mental aspect of the game. When he figured that (out), the sky became the limit for this kid,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told

“One of the things about our organization and the way things have been done is, we don’t give up on players. We don’t come in here and say, ‘Well, because a player was drafted at a certain level he’s expected to do certain things.’ Everybody develops at a different rate.”

It was certainly an adjustment for Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft, who in his final junior season excelled to 108 points in 46 games.

“I have to give him a ton of credit because he looked himself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a hockey player’,” Cooper said. “He proved during that playoff run last season that he’s a heck of a hockey player.”

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