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Cooper: Drouin will play at some point in second round

New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning

Jonathan Drouin

NHLI via Getty Images

Jonathan Drouin has plenty of offensive upside and is coming off of a respectable regular season rookie campaign. However, the Tampa Bay Lightning have only used him once in the playoffs and are projected to list him as a healthy scratch again on Sunday.

The Lightning have plenty of offensive weapons without Drouin and that’s likely a big part of the reason why Lightning coach Jon Cooper has decided to keep the still comparatively inexperienced forward in the press box. In the one postseason contest that Cooper decided to use Drouin, the 20-year-old served on the fourth line and was consequently limited to 8:42 minutes. Even still, there have been times when Cooper’s decision to pass on Drouin has raised eyebrows.

If one of the Lightning’s skilled forwards suffers an injury, then Drouin might be asked to fill the void. Until then, it seems that he will continue to be used sparingly, although Cooper is at least suggesting that he’ll eventually get another chance regardless.

“He’s an extreme talent and he’s getting better and better,” Cooper told the Canadian Press. “This is a learning experience just as it was last year for Kuch or Palat or Johnson.

“But you put in your twenty (players) you feel, on this day, is going to give us the best chance to win. Probably, moving forward, he’s going to be in that 20 all the time. Just right now, he’s on the sidelines. Whether he has to wait his turn or we feel a matchup is best for him, but I can tell you, he’s going to play in this series at some point. We just have to see when.”

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