The fantasy scenario is Drouin playing top-line minutes with center Steven Stamkos and right wing Martin St. Louis. Thursday, however, it came out that the Lightning have an interest in Drouin playing somewhere very specific and different than where fans have been expecting him.
From Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, via Twitter:
Other than being "more responsible in the defensive zone," Drouin said playing center as opposed to left wing "isn't that much of a change."— Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes) September 12, 2013
More Drouin on playing center: "I'll adjust to that and see where they want me to play. Wherever they put me, I'm fine."— Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes) September 12, 2013
Drouin at center would actually give reason for a delay in his NHL debut; he could be optioned back to Halifax and given time to play the position and the extra responsibilities that come with it. He did see some time at center for the Mooseheads last season, but not significant amounts of it.
Of course, it being only the first day of training camp makes that suggestion (his return to Halifax) very much jumping-to-conclusions on my part. It's just the idea of learning-on-the-job at the NHL level, that doesn't seem to fit organizational philosophy on player development.
In a comparison that long-time Lightning fans might recollect, think of it like the tandem of Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards being broken up with Rimouski Oceanic (their junior team) with Brad moving to center to replace Vinny with the Oceanic. In this case, the break-up is simply the fantasy of Stamkos / Drouin playing on the same line. Instead of putting all the firepower on a top line, it looks here like the Bolts want to spread the wealth with potentially two scoring centers in the future.
Again, this is just very early camp fodder. But it's something to keep in mind as we move forward toward the season, and the roster battles that loom ahead.