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Debut delayed: Bolts send Drouin to AHL for rehab assignment

Jonathan Drouin

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin waits for play to resume in the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Mark Humphrey

Those waiting to see Jonathan Drouin play for the Tampa Bay Lightning... will have to wait a little longer.

On Thursday, the Bolts announced that Drouin -- their first-round pick (third overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft -- has been sent to AHL Syracuse for a conditioning stint that will last a maximum of two weeks.

Drouin, 19, suffered a fractured thumb during the preseason and was unable to participate in any of Tampa Bay’s exhibition games, hence the assignment to the Crunch.

Looking at the calendar, Drouin would be forced to leave Syracuse by Oct. 30th at the latest, meaning he could make his NHL debut that evening in a home date against Philadelphia (if not sooner.) The Bolts could also wait until the full two-week conditioning stint is up and give Drouin his first game on Saturday, Nov. 1, in a home date against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.