EDMONTON - The long-awaited NHL debut of Jonathan Drouin for the Tampa Bay Lightning is now a reality.
Despite reports earlier in the day that he would be a healthy scratch against the Oilers in Edmonton on Monday, Drouin was inserted into the lineup after Alex Killorn suffered an injury in the morning skate.
Drouin was the third pick at the 2013 NHL Draft and was recalled from a two-game conditioning stint with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, where he scored a goal and had two assists.
The 19-year-old was held pointless and was minus-1 in his team's 3-2 loss to the Oilers, but still impressed Tampa coach Jon Cooper.
"He comes as advertised," said Cooper. "When he plays with speed, I thought he controlled the game when he had it on his stick. For a first outing, I thought it was really good. With all of the pressure he had on him, it was a pretty darn good effort."
Drouin wished his debut had come in a win, but was glad to get into his first NHL game.
"I felt pretty good about my game," he said. "The first one, you are going to have some nerves and not quite know what to expect. It was exciting. It only happens once. I just wish we had a better outcome.
"I made some plays with the puck and created a couple of things. It was a good first game for me, but I still have a lot of work to do."
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop has already made his mind up on the young prospect.
"I thought he played very well," he said. "You can tell he is going to be a top player in this league."
The Quebec native recorded 29 goals and 108 points in 46 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.
Drouin wore jersey No. 27 for the game against the Oilers.