Most thought it was odd on Saturday when the Tampa Bay Lightning sent the 3rd overall pick from 2013, Jonathan Drouin, to the AHL. But general manager Steve Yzerman made a point of sayaing Drouin needing bigger ice time, which he wasn’t getting in Tampa through a combination of injuries and low production.
There may be more to that story than initially met the eye.
Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh made a statement about Drouin on Sunday, saying that he requested a trade out of Tampa for the young winger back in November.
Here’s the full statement from Walsh:
On behalf of Jonathan Drouin, I formally requested a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning back in November. We have not said one word about this untenable situation publicly until today. It’s in everyone’s best interests that Jonathan be allowed to move on play hockey. Let’s be clear, Jonathan loves playing for the fan in Tampa, he loves his teammates and many people within the Lightning organization have treated him well. It was his sincere intention to play in Tampa for many years.
Well, that’s loaded.
There appear to be a couple of shots at coaches and or management there. Particular that he loves “many people” within the organization. Not the organization itself. It seems to make clear to particular parties, who surely know who they are, that he’s not a big fan.
How Does This End?
It’s interesting that Walsh released this statement. It makes it seem like progress wasn’t being made toward a trade and that he’s trying to stoke the fires a bit following Drouin’s latest demotion. What it likely does is stoke trade speculation among fans, creating another player personnel issue for Tampa to have floating publicly in a season where they just don’t seem to be clicking, despite having gone to the Stanley Cup Final in the spring.
A request for a trade doesn’t guarantee that Drouin will be shipped out and trading him is a difficult move for Yzerman. Drouin is worth a good price because of his age and talent, but his value isn’t particularly high right now. Add in that captain Steven Stamkos is without a contract, putting the team in a sticky situation already and Yzerman has his hands full. It would be very hard to trade away a blooming offensive talent with a high pedigree on an ELC the same year you lose your franchise
As was pointed out Saturday, Drouin wasn’t happy about the move to the AHL, even if it meant bigger minutes.
Just passed by a very unhappy looking Jonathan Drouin who said he is on his way to @SyracuseCrunch #TBLightning #SyrCrunch
— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) January 2, 2016
For a team that has had management and coaching praised regularly, they’ve had some odd situations the last few years, with Martin St. Louis asking to be traded, Stamkos not seeming overly eager to re-sign and now Drouin asking to be moved.
Per @syrhockey, Drouin will not play for @SyracuseCrunch today in Toronto, scheduled to join team Tuesday in Syracuse #tblightning
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) January 3, 2016