A statement from Jonathan Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh regarding his client’s future in TB: pic.twitter.com/Vhwet1IpTW
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 3, 2016
The 3rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft has not met the expectations of the Lightning to this point. The 20-year-old’s season started off hot, recording one goal and five assists in his first five games. Unfortunately, Drouin has only managed two points in his last fourteen outings. This lack of consistent production led to his demotion to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL on Saturday.
In his rookie season, Drouin managed four goals and 28 assists in 70 games played for the Lightning.
Time For a Phone Call to Tampa
It is no secret that the Anaheim Ducks have been performing below expectation as we approach the midway point of the season. Although they appear to be in the midst of turning things around, the team could still use some improvements.
Attempting to put together a trade to acquire Drouin from Tampa Bay is a move that GM Bob Murray needs to make. The Ducks forward situation is a little disappointing currently, and the unit could use a spark. Drouin is a highly talented young forward with huge upside. His stint with the Lightning has been nothing to brag about but a change in scenery could do some good.
Drouin is still in his rookie contract and is only owed $894,167 until he becomes a restricted free-agent in 2017. With a few big contracts taking up space on Anaheim’s payroll, the young forwards contract could really benefit the Ducks down the road.
The argument can be made that the Ducks don’t need another player who is struggling at this point; but the potential that surrounds Drouin should outweigh his slow start. Plus we need to keep in mind that he is only in his second season, and has the potential to be a valuable asset. The Lightning would not have used the 3rd overall pick if that was not the case.
Who Do You Trade?
Similar to the Ducks, expectations for the Lightning before the season started was for them to contend for the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay has not lived up to those expectations and are in desperate need for some help. After the injuries to Cam Fowler and Simon Despres, Anaheim cannot afford to part ways with any blue liners. The Ducks will need to part ways with a forward and possibly a mid-round draft pick to acquire the services of Drouin.
The guy who comes to my mind as the best trade chip is Carl Hagelin. He had a solid four seasons with the New York Rangers but has not been able to demonstrate the same production since joining the Ducks. In his 37 games with Anaheim, Hagelin has only managed to record three goals and five assists. The 27-year-old is also due $4M until the summer of 2019.
There would be some risk to the Lightning trading Drouin away for Hagelin because of his contract. However, like Drouin, Hagelin does have the potential to be a real difference maker of the ice. In addition, the Lightning have had success in adding former Rangers to their roster in the past.
The Waiting Game
Just as it is with all trade speculation, the only thing we can do is sit back and wait to see what unfolds. Trade requests do not always transform into a transaction taking place but Drouin and the Lightning cutting ties may prove to be beneficial for both sides. Murray and the Ducks need to see what it would cost to bring Drouin to Anaheim. It could turn out to be an acquisition that goes strongly in the Ducks favor.