Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin has been skating on a line with Steven Stamkos in training camp with the hopes it will form one of the more dynamic 1-2 punches in the NHL this season.
Drouin, the third player selected at the 2013 NHL Draft, scored four goals in 70 games for the Lightning last season and played six games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the 20-year-old could take a big step this season if he gets the chance to skate on a line with Stamkos, a four-time 40-goal scorer.
"Stammer is a smart player, and his shooting ability, if you put the puck in a good spot, it's probably going to end up in the back of the net pretty soon," Drouin told the Tampa Tribune. ???He skates really well, he sees the play nice, so it???s definitely easy to play with him.???
Drouin had some opportunities to play with Stamkos last season, though it wasn't constant. The Lightning, a Stanley Cup contender, open the 2015-16 season on Oct. 8 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Amalie Arena. Stamkos is hoping he can help Drouin build confidence and that the two will still be in on the same line in two weeks.
Drouin had an assist in Tampa Bay's 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Friday and he scored in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Nashville Predators last Tuesday.
"Hopefully we can take advantage of that," Stamkos said. "He scored a very nice goal in the first game. You can tell that he is hungry, he wants to take on a bigger role, a bigger opportunity. I'd love to help out in that regard, and hopefully we can just continue to create some chemistry out there.
"It's nice to have some consistency throughout camp, you are with him in practices and in games to just talk situations out. Hopefully we can continue to grow that chemistry."