Over the span of three seasons, Jonathan Drouin played in 164 regular season games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He added another 23 games in the postseason during that tenure. During that time span he scored a grand total of 34 goals in a Lightning uniform (his 29 regular season is good for 40th all-time in franchise history).
The boss tasked me with finding his five best among the set.
Since I had to watch all of them, I figured why shouldn’t you, our dear reader, not enjoy all of them as well! After all, it’s not like you’re being productive at work this week. So, I took the time to watch them and then sort them into a definitive ranking from worst (which wasn’t really horrible) to best (which was really, really good).
Spending so much time watching Drouin highlights led me to notice a couple of things. Not to spoil the list, but not a single one of the goals is off of a rebound. Nor are any of them deflections. Almost all of his early goals were scored from a similar spot on the ice and he was absolutely dangerous on the power play (21 of the 34 came with the extra skater).
Without any further ado, here we go:
34. 10-12-2015 vs. Boston - Sometimes the goaltender doesn’t make a save they should. Drouin’s shot on Tuukka Rask, quite simply, should have been stopped. It wasn’t and Drouin has his first goal of the 2015-16 season.
33. 12-15-2014 vs. Pittsburgh- A goal Dave Andreychuk would be proud of. Drouin establishes position in front of the net and bangs home a rebound. Not the prettiest goal, but effective.
32. 04-09-2016 vs. Montreal - The most impressive part of this goal is Matt Carle’s wrap-around pass/shot. Who knew he had that in him? All Drouin has to do is put it in the nearly empty net.
31. 12-02-2015 vs. Anaheim - Another power play goal for Drouin. It’s not a high percentage shot, he’s a little off balance and there is a lot of traffic in front of the net, but he finds an empty space inside the far post and it goes in. Sometimes goal scorers just get lucky when they throw it at the net.
30. 03-27-2017 vs. Chicago - A simple redirection off of Alex Killorn’s feed. This one gets bumped down because if had missed it, chances are Vlad Namestnikov would have tapped it in.
29. 02-04-2017 vs. Anaheim - If this was a countdown of goals ranked by the number of times players circled with the puck, it would be a top five goal. Despite all of the fancy skating by the Lightning, Jonathan Bernier should have made the save. Drouin was a little lucky this one sneaked past the Ducks netminder.
28. 03-27-2017 vs. Chicago - To put it simply, I don’t think anyone expected Drouin to shoot from this spot on the ice. He’s not exactly known as someone who bombs shots from the point. His little half-slapper surprises a screened Scott Darling.
27. 12-08-2016 vs. Vancouver - Ninety percent of Drouin’s game is subtle. Shifty moves and quick hands lead to a high percentage of his points. There are times when brute strength works as well. With a loose puck just sitting there mere feet away from the Canucks’ goaltender, Drouin just blasts it right into the back of the net.
26. 03-23-2017 vs. Boston - Another rare slapshot goal for Drouin. There isn’t much to describe, he just blows it past Rask for the goal.
25. 10-24-2014 vs. Winnipeg - Drouin’s first career goal comes off of a nice feed from Nikita Kucherov. Everyone thinks the Russian is going to dish it to Tyler Johnson cutting in front of the net. Instead he spies Drouin trailing the play and reverses the puck to him. Drouin creeps in alone and snipes it over Ondrej Pavelec's shoulder.
24. 12-10-2016 vs. Pittsburgh - When he is on the power play, Drouin likes to pass the puck, especially if Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov are on the ice. In this case he had a little room so he fires a slapshot past the goaltender. That works, too.
23. 02-07-16 vs. Los Angeles - This one was a tough one to rate. By all honesty Peter Budaj should have made the save. No goaltender likes getting beat on the short side by an open skater. However, the respect that the Kings had for Drouin’s reputation as a passer and his ability to thread into such a small opening bump it up a few spots.
22. 05-16-2016 vs. Pittsburgh - Under the arm and inside the far post as Drouin scores another playoff goal on the rush. It was his second goal of the series where he established himself as a high-level offensive player.
21. 05-13-2016 vs. Pittsburgh - A one-timer on a 3-on-1 rush. It’s a nice finish on a less than ideal pass from Ondrej Palat. Lightning fans remember this game not for the win, but for the fact they won despite Ben Bishop being injured and missing the rest of the series.
20. 10-13-2016 - vs. Detroit - Drouin picks up where he left off the season before. He nets the Lightning’s first goal of the 2016-17 season by snapping a wrist shot from the right circle under the crossbar and in.
19. 01-08-2017 vs. Pittsburgh - Drouin normally uses his quick hands to make precision passes or quick shots on net, in this case he uses those hands to redirect the puck past Marc Andre Fleury on a broken play. The end result is a shot into an almost empty net, but he had to be spot on to read the broken play correctly and get the shot on net.
18. 04-02-2015 vs. Ottawa - Another power play goal for Drouin. In his first season with the Lightning he had four regular season goals and three were on the power play. Alone on the wing he snaps it past Andrew Hammond. His wrist shot is so good that it’s infuriating that he doesn’t use it more often.
17. 04-30-2016 vs. New York Islanders - Jonathan Drouin’s first playoff goal was a nifty one. He cuts through the middle of the ice, receives the pass from Val Filppula and slides a no-look backhander past the goaltender. All done at nearly full speed.
16. 12-22-2016 vs. St. Louis - This is an empty net goal. By all means this should be the lowest ranked goal on the list because there is no goaltender to beat. Yet, this is an awesome goal. The burst of speed to catch and pass Brad Hunt, then the stickwork to pull the puck back into the front of the net and in is simply phenomenal.
15. 12-20-2016 vs. Detroit - The more you watch Drouin, the more you realize how little he looks at the puck. His head is most always up as it is in the play. From the time he gets the puck to the time he shoots it, his eyes are always up. That allows him to pick the exact moment to shoot the puck. The little half slapshot was a huge development in his goal scoring.
14. 12-31-2016 vs. Carolina - Drouin scores a power play goal scored from almost the same exact spot as the previous goal on this list. If a defender leaves him space, he’ll take the shot, if they press him, he’ll dish it off to an open teammate.
13. 10-25-2016 vs. Toronto - As usual, Drouin is streaking down the right side of the ice with plenty of space. This time he eschews his accurate wrist shot and simply blasts the puck past Fredrik Andersson.
12. 05-20-2016 vs. Pittsburgh - His third goal of the series is a great reaction goal. With Matt Murray filling the net in front of him, Drouin attempts a pass to Palat. It gets kicked back to Drouin almost immediately and he flips it past Murray before the goaltender can react.
11. 01-13-2017 vs. Columbus - It’s fitting that Drouin scored this goal on a night where the Lightning feted Marty St. Louis. It was a very Marty-esque goal. Find an open spot on the ice and get it on net quickly from a less-than-ideal angle.
10. 12-17-2016 vs. Edmonton - This goal won’t make his top five, but it is a nifty little play. The subtle shift of the shoulders to force the defender to go into block mode before pulling the puck into just the right spot to get the shot past the goaltender is fantastic.
9. 12-22-2016 vs. St. Louis - Valtteri Filppula and Jonathan Drouin will go down as two of the best playmakers in franchise history. They combined on this goal to almost break Jake Allen. Filppula dances the puck around Jay Bouwmeester and throws the puck to a spot where he knows Drouin will be located. Drouin fakes the forehand drawing Allen out of position and easily slide a backhander past him as Allen seemingly tears every ligament in both legs trying to make the save.
8. 11-19-2016 vs. Philadelphia - Not many players are going to catch Drouin in full flight. Palat banks a pass to him and he’s in the zone ahead of the Flyers defense. He cuts in front of the goalie and chips a cheeky little shot into the back of the net.
7. 04-07-2016 vs. New Jersey - Drouin shows off his great hands at three separate points in this goal. First to steal the puck. Second the pass to Vlad Namestnikov and finally the shot to slip it through Keith Kinkaid.
6. 03-30-2015 vs. Montreal - The first standout goal of Drouin’s tenure with the Lightning is, of course, on the power play. Anton Stralman puts the puck in a perfect place for Drouin to split the defense. He avoids PK Subban’s lumberjack chop, outskates Lars Eller and outmaneuvers Carey Price.
The Top Five:
5. 03-30-2017 vs. Detroit:
The final goal by Jonathan Drouin in a Lightning uniform was simply sublime. Speed in the neutral zone gets him past a flat-footed Drew Miller Then a shifty little move creates space from Robbie Russo. He then lets a wrister go from a familiar spot - the right circle - that finds its way past a goaltender.
4. 05-26-2016 vs. Pittsburgh:
A Game 7, game-tying goal isn’t something that is on every player’s resume. Even though the Lightning ended up losing, this was still a spectacular goal by Drouin. He races down on the wing, his speed causing the defender to back off. Instead of wristing a shot at the net like he did earlier in the series, he slams on the brakes and cuts in front of the net. He patiently waits for a screen to develop and snaps it across the flow of play into the upper corner of the net.
3. 12-10-2016 vs. Pittsburgh:
Poor Ian Cole. How is he supposed to catch Drouin? Once the Penguins defenseman reaches for the puck and misses it, Drouin is free. He corrals the puck at full speed, almost blows a tire, controls the puck and flicks a backhander past Matt Murray. Just another ho-hum goal.
2. 01-19-2017 vs. San Jose:
This is my personal favorite and is the greatest goal I’ve ever seen live in my life. There are times when good players seem to say, “Screw it, I’m taking over this moment with or without anyone’s help.” From the moment he circles with the puck in the neutral zone with the puck, there was a feeling that he was going to score. He had the speed to outskate two Sharks defenders, then he cut through a narrow space in front of Aaron Dell while using a little fake to draw the goaltender down. He then pulls the puck back and shoots it into the net. It’s a work of art on ice.
1. 02-19-2017 vs. Colorado:
If the goal against San Jose is a work of art, then this goal is his masterpiece. This goal encapsulates all of the skill and promise that Drouin represented from the moment he was drafted third overall in 2013. It starts with the ingenuity of the chip pass at the blue line that almost became a turnover. It continues with his quick hands stealing the puck back, a move that he pulled off many, many times during his Lightning days, normally at center ice. Then the shiftiness with the puck that turns Calvin Pickard into a pretzel before he calmly puts into the back of the net.
Bonus Goal (non-goal)
It would not be a list without the infamous “Drouin was onside” non-goal during the playoff series against the Penguins.
In terms of difficulty it would be the easiest goal he scored in his career. In terms of importance it would have been the most important. If that goal counts there is an excellent chance the Lightning win that game and go on to the Stanley Cup Finals. What a pass by Ondrej Palat.
So do you agree or disagree with the list? Leave your thoughts in the comments!