ESTERO — From the moment Tampa Bay selected Jonathan Drouin with the third overall pick in the June draft, anticipation built for the first time the 18-year-old would line up next to Steven Stamkos.
That moment occurred on Monday during a simulated scrimmage as the Lightning shifted training camp to Germain Arena for six days.
After running through special-teams practice to start the session, the players were put through situational scrimmage action broken into five-minute segments — down by a goal late in a game, protecting the lead late in a game and playing with the goaltender pulled.
The first line to head to center ice for the first scrimmage session had Drouin playing at left wing with Stamkos at center and Marty St. Louis at right wing.
“It’s easy to play with those two. They are so smart, they have been so good in this league now for years,’’ Drouin said. “It’s pretty exciting to be out there with those two.’’
Even for Stamkos, getting the chance to play alongside Drouin was something he had been looking forward to since before training camp opened.
“It’s something that’s been talked about when he came here where he’d fit in,” Stamkos said. “Any time you get to play with a skill player like that, you’re excited to see how the chemistry is.”
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said moving Drouin back to the wing — he played center during intrasquad scrimmages and his first two preseason games — was part of the plan since the start of camp.
“We wanted to take a look at Jonathan at center and now we are going to look at him at the wing, and there are no guarantees where he will be playing going forward,’’ Cooper said. “It was good to see him in the scrimmage. I thought he did well out there and at some point in one of these (preseason) games you are going to see him on the wing.’’
Former Nashville G Anders Lindback will start for Tampa Bay during Tuesday night’s preseason game at Bridgestone Arena, marking the first time Lindback will face his former team since he was dealt to the Lightning on June 15, 2012.
After G Ben Bishop received the full game on Saturday against Florida, Lindback expects to play the full 60 minutes Tuesday.
The rotation for the remaining two preseason games — Thursday in Estero against Florida and Saturday at the Panthers — has not been determined, Cooper said.
The rest of the group traveling to Nashville:
Forwards: Drouin-Stamkos-Teddy Purcell; Nikita Kucherov-Valtteri Filppula-Brett Connolly; Pierre-Cedric Labrie-Nate Thompson-B.J. Crombeen; Dana Tyrell-Tom Pyatt-J.T. Brown.
Defense: Victor Hedman-Sami Salo; Eric Brewer-Andrej Sustr; Dmitry Korobov-Mark Barberio; J-P Cote.
Unlike in January, when the Lightning held an abbreviated training camp in Estero after the lockout ended and included various team-bonding activities such as a beach volleyball tournament, there are no team organized activities this time. But with plenty of time away from the rink for the players, there will be planned activities held.
“We gave them ample time to do so and we have some pretty creative guys on the team,’’ Cooper said. “And from the amount of golf clubs I saw get boarded on the bus, I think they have some things planned.’’
Nuts and Bolts
G Kristers Gudlevskis did not practice with the team on Monday. Instead, the 21-year-old did an off-ice workout. ... Wednesday’s practice at Germain Arena, which will be held from noon to 12:45 p.m., is the only practice this week open to the public. ... Syracuse will open camp Tuesday in St. John’s, Newfoundland, before playing three games for the Mary Brown Cup in a preseason tournament against the St. John’s IceCaps beginning Thursday. ... RW Geoff Walker cleared waivers and was assigned to Syracuse. ... LW Adam Erne, who was released from camp on Friday, registered a hat trick on Sunday in his first game back with Quebec in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Erne, the team’s second-round pick in the 2013 draft, scored two goals and had the shootout deciding goal in his only preseason action.