Jonathan Drouin is on his way to the American Hockey League with no set date for a return to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 20-year-old has struggled this season with just one goal in his last 16 games. Drouin has also battled multiple injuries, which limited him to 19 of Tampa's first 38 games.
"Jonathan has played in nine games in the last nine weeks," Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. "He's been dealing with a minor nagging issue that is finally healed. With everyone coming back at the same time, it's a good opportunity to get a young player a lot of ice time, get his game right back on top and bring him back at the appropriate time."
With Ondrej Palat expected to return to the Lightning lineup tonight against the Minnesota Wild, the Bolts have 14 healthy forwards. Jonathan Marchessault, who has six goals and 11 points in 21 games this season with Tampa, requires waivers to get sent back to Syracuse.
Drouin returned to Tampa Bay's lineup on Wednesday after missing seven games with a lower body injury. He has two goals and six assists this season.
"We take everything into account," Yzerman said. "But we have reason for doing it and I believe in the reasons for doing it. Jonathan expressed to me he understands the reasons for it. So again, we want our players to succeed and we want them to play well and put t hem in best position to succeed. And I believe this helps that."
Originally Tampa’s first-round pick (3rd overall) in 2013, Drouin has played in two career AHL games with the Crunch scoring a goal and adding two assists.