Jonathan Drouin believes that things will get better with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 20-year-old met with the media on Tuesday in Syracuse, N.Y., the first time he's spoken publicly since the Lightning lifted his team-imposed indefinite suspension on Monday.
"I'm a hockey player. I want to play hockey. Sitting at home is not what I wanted to do. I want to play hockey with the [Syracuse] Crunch," Drouin told reporters.
"We'll deal with the [other] stuff when the summer comes."
There was plenty of speculation that the disgruntled winger would be dealt by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman prior to the Feb. 29 trade deadline. No deal was reached.
Despite his complicated history with the Tampa Bay organization, Drouin isn't worried about his future with team.
"I think our relationship is fine. We've talked about the decision to come back here. I think that we're going to fix this in the summer and see how it goes from there."
When asked if he regretted the holdout, the soft-spoken Drouin responded, "It's hard to say. Obviously, I wish it went the other way. But it happened that way and like I said, it's going to be fixed in the summer. We'll figure it out. Right now, I'm just playing for the Crunch. I'm happy to be here."
Yzerman doesn't have any plans to recall Drouin but left the door open in an interview with NHL.com.
"Anything can happen ... He called and said that he wants to come back, he wants to play hockey ... All I will say is that I will do whatever I think is the best thing for the Tampa Bay Lightning and that could include recalling Jonathan."
Drouin's relationship with the Lightning was strained following a trade request that was made public in early January by his agent, Allan Walsh. Drouin was eventually demoted to the AHL where he played seven games, registering three points. Drouin was suspended indefinitely by Tampa Bay without pay after he opted to miss the Crunch's game against the Toronto Marlies on Jan. 20.
During his absence with the Crunch, Drouin worked out in Montreal with Concordia's hockey team.
He has been criticized by many in the hockey world including former NHLer Mike Commodore
Drouin - get back to Syracuse now. Beg if you have to. Get playing well and earn your way back to Tampa. Nobody is bigger than the club.— @commie22
The third-overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has scored six goals in 89 career NHL games with the Lightning.