One of the surprising names to not be moved at the trade deadline was Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin.
The young forward was reported to have drawn the interest of 15 NHL clubs. Yet a deal couldn’t be reached to give the 20-year-old a fresh start.
Following the close of trading, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman told the media, “Jonathan is suspended. If he wants to come back and play, the door it open. That’s up to him.” Where he’s playing, at least to start, would likely be in the AHL.
Drouin is currently skating at home in Montreal after the team suspended him without pay for failure to report to a Syracuse Crunch game. Drouin and his agent Allan Walsh, who had earlier made public their desire for a trade, say that a trade was “imminent” — a claim Yzerman denies. Drouin did not wish to risk injury playing for the Crunch when the desired trade could be near.
Despite Yzerman’s offer, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that, “Drouin is not expected to return to the Lightning.”
It’s a game of chicken that Drouin doesn’t appear to be winning. A trade may have been made more difficult by his current status with Tampa, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith, who reports that Drouin “not playing much recently was a concern to some teams.”
Now, while Drouin could still be traded, though he wouldn’t be eligible to play in the playoffs, the most likely scenario is that he’s not moved until the summer. That could mean a tough spring at home watching the red-hot Lightning try to make another deep run into the postseason.