Earlier this month, TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the news the Jonathan Drouin had requested a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since then, the third overall pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has been the hottest topic around the league. Plenty of teams have expressed interest in dealing for the 20-year-old winger due to the abundance of potential he possesses.
The Anaheim Ducks have been among the teams considered most likely to acquire Drouin. The team’s shallow pool of forward prospects and a need for goal scorers are two key reasons the Ducks would love to add the youngster to their roster. When the news about his trade demand first serviced, I was among the masses who would welcome Drouin to Anaheim with open arms. However, the time has passed and I now find myself singing a completely different tune. I believe that it would be in Bob Murray and the Ducks’ best interest to forget about Jonathan Drouin and look elsewhere for roster improvements.
Dealing With Uncertainty
Drouin most definitely has the resume of a young player with the potential to be a star in the National Hockey League. He had two seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads where he recorded over 100 points and scored 77 goals in 128 games. In addition, you do not get selected in the top-three of the draft unless the team selecting you expects to witness spectacular things. However, Drouin’s professional hockey career has not lived up to expectations at this point. In his rookie season, he posted a decent assist total of 28 but only managed four goals. In nineteen games with the Lightning this season, Drouin only recorded a measly two goals which eventually led to his demotion. Many people, including myself, expected to see improvements once he got to Syracuse but that has not been the case. In his seven games with the Crunch, Drouin has only scored two goals and recorded one assist.
Drouin’s sample size to this point is still quite small. Even third overall draft picks need a little time to show what they are really made of. However, the feeling of uncertainty is there and nobody truly knows what kind of player Drouin is going to turn into. It has been well documented that Tampa Bay is not going to deal away their player for peanuts just because he demands to be sent elsewhere. Whoever ends up acquiring the forward is going to have to pay a decent price.
If I am Murray, I do not risk dealing away a valuable player and prospects who may turn into such for someone whose only selling point is his potential. The Ducks need players who can produce offense this season and Drouin has not demonstrated this ability at all. Trading away someone like Sami Vatanen along with a future piece such a Shea Theodore for a player like Drouin would be disastrous if it did not pan out. Anaheim may end up dealing away one or both of these players but it needs to be for someone Murray is sure he can get a decent return out of.
No Need For Negative Attention
Not even Ducks’ General Manager can ignore the fact that having a player on an entry-level deal request a trade is quite peculiar. Not only is it strange, it is very concerning. Here is a guy who has only been a member of the National Hockey League for one-and-a-half seasons, who has proven very little to this point, demonstrating his unhappiness with the team that drafted him so high by demanding he be traded. Think of all the players that do their time in the AHL before they even get the opportunity to show off their skills to the big boys. They do whatever it takes to make it, keeping their mouths shut and letting their talent do the talking.
Drouin’s behavior screams “bad for locker room”. No team wants the extra attention of an unhappy prospect who is blaming his poor performance on the organization he plays for. Anaheim is trying to make it into to postseason and do not need Drouin’s immature attitude as an added distraction.
Ducks Must Look Elsewhere
When it comes down to it, there is no telling whether Jonathan Drouin will eventually live up to expectations and be a stud hockey player in this league. In addition, I might be too hard on the guy labeling his trade demand as immature and an example of cockiness. However, trading for Drouin is not the acquisition Anaheim needs to make. Murray must make a deal for someone they know can improve this team now. Taking a risk on the 20-year-old forward would do nothing in improving the number of goals scored this season and could prevent them from making the playoffs.
The Anaheim Ducks will make a deal before this season’s trade deadline, and could very well send a key piece to their current packing. However, it must be for somebody who is not named Jonathan Drouin.